Is Marvin Lewis Done With Cincinnati For Real For Real?

The Shadow League reported back in April of 2017 that this looked like the final year of Marvin Lewis teflon tenure as Cincinnati Bengals head coach. And after 15 seasons in Cincinnati that have made him the longest-tenured head coach in franchise history, and the second-longest current tenured coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick, sources said on Sunday morning that Lewis is planning to leave the Bengals after this season to pursue opportunities elsewhere. 

Whether you are like Stephen A. Smith and have been calling for Lewis head for years, or like his former and current players and the community of Cincinnati who love him like a Daddy, you have to respect the man who brought pride, stability, optimism and a winning tradition back to a failing franchise.  

Of course, some Bengals fans were ecstatic to finally hear Lewis is bouncing. There was also a strong portion of Twitter heads who expressed a ton of support for Lewis. 

Former player Chad Ochocinco, who was close with Lewis during his All-Pro career with the Bengals, checked in with an emoji that says it all. 

Chad Johnson on Twitter

While most fans agreed it may be time for Lewis to move on, many reminded folks of how miserable life in Cincinnati was before Lewis took over. 

Field Yates on Twitter

Marvin Lewis will take a lot of flack for how this season has played out and that’s fair. But he helped dig Cincinnati out of the NFL’s embarrassing basement and guided them to the playoffs in 6 of 7 seasons. That matters.

And how hard he rolled with the community. 

Jolinda Lewis-Miller on Twitter

You can be as excited as you want about Marvin Lewis not returning to the Bengals, but what he and his foundation have done for the kids/students/athletes in Cincinnati has been incredible. THANK YOU, Marvin. You will be missed.

Cian Fahey on Twitter

For all the complaints you can have about Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have been consistently one of the better teams in the NFL past 7-8 years.

As he has done in the past, Lewis willingly opted to enter 2017 on the final year of his contract as a lame duck coach,  but unlike in other years, this time he is planning to leave Cincinnati, sources said.

Entering this season Lewis had made the playoffs in six of the last eight years, but he never won a postseason game and that rubbed some bottom-line folks the wrong way. Sunday’s 34-7 loss to Arizona clinched a losing season for the Bengals for just the fifth time in Lewis 15-year tenure. There was always optimism surrounding the team. 

The topic of Lewis deserving to remain as head coach of the Bengals has been a highly debated one for several years now. The Shadow League named Lewis footballs Teflon Don as far back as 2012 because of the way he rebounded from tough playoff losses or down seasons and maintained his job, despite a merry-go-round of NFL coaches moving in and out of other teams. 

Its not only rare for a head coach in this age to last as long as Lewis without advancing to the second round of the playoffs, but for an African-American HC to last that long without accomplishing the pinnacle of the profession says a ton about Lewis as a person and leader. 

The entire Bengals organization was reportedly surprised to hear the reports that Lewis would not be returning as head coach in 2018. It broke on Twitter and was reported by ESPN based on anonymous league sources. 

Paul Dehner Jr. on Twitter

Bengals caught off guard by news Marvin Lewis is not interested in returning to the team next year, as @AdamSchefter reported.

However, following Sundays game, Lewis said there was no validity to the talks. He vehemently denied the ESPN reports. 

No, he said. Its the same report youve been reporting on all season. Theres nothing changed since August. Its just the speculation that people keep throwing out there. Were all wasting time talking about that. 

Cincy Jungle on Twitter

This won’t make (most) Bengals fans happy, but Marvin Lewis is denying the reports that he’ll step away from the team at the end of the year

Maybe his departure is truly inevitable, but Lewis doesnt want it to become a story and distract the team from finishing strong. He probably hasn’t decided if he wants to pursue other head coaching offers or stay with the team in an executive role, as he’s been a pillar of consistency and stability for the ownership group and increasingly influential in personnel decisions over the past few seasons. 

The players found out about the Lewis rumors on the team bus on the way to the game. There’s obviously some things going on in Cincinnati behind the scenes right now. For the first time in a long time, Lewis and the front office are not on the same page and thats as glaring an indication as any that maybe its time for him to go. 

If this is the end, he leaves on his own terms with his head held high and he provided the city of Cincinnati with an NFL franchise they could support and be proud of. Salute to Marvin Lewis anyway you look at it. His last chapter as a leader of men hasn’t been written. 

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