Responding to a rumor that he will retire after the 2016 season, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has reportedly stated his intent to continue coaching next season.
“Marvin Lewis intends to return to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, a source close to Lewis told ESPN’s Ed Werder, disputing a report that the longtime coach will retire at the end of this season.”
Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley got the rumor mill rolling on ESPN 980’s “Cooley & Kevin” Tuesday morning, citing “somebody I know in Cincinnati.”
“The idea is that [Lewis] has been slowly packing up the office, though, slowly putting the pieces away so next Sunday, he can get home, have a little meeting and say, ‘See ya, I’m going to spend some time in Arizona and play some golf,'” Cooley said.
Cincinnati’s season is effectively done, even though they have one game left to play. With a record of 5-9-1 heading into Week 17, the team has underachieved in a major way. Injuries have played a role in the Bengals’ failure to live up to preseason expectations, but that’s not a good excuse for how far the Bengals have fallen since last year.
At this point, the bigger question isn’t whether Lewis wants to coach Cincinnati next year. The bigger question is, should the Bengals retain his services or move on without him?
After all, Lewis hasn’t been particularly effective, despite being the second-most tenured coach in the league besides Bill Belichick. Though he has led his team to the playoffs seven times, the Bengals haven’t won a single game in the postseason under Lewis, whose career record with the club is a mediocre 117-103-3.
Yet, given the nature of owner Mike Owner, the Bengals probably will stick with Lewis until he retires, regardless of the team’s performance.