CINCINNATI (FOX 19) - The season wrapped up with another last minute loss for the Bengals, but is the team also about to lose its head coach?
"All I know is that after today I'm officially unemployed," Marvin Lewis says with his enduring laugh after the Bengals 13-7 loss at Baltimore on Sunday.
Lewis heads into 2011 without a contract. Monday morning the reigning 2010 NFL Coach of the Year met with Bengals owner Mike Brown about his coaching future with the franchise.
The timeline of when a decision will be made is unknown, but team officials said nothing will happen Monday. Lewis said in a press conference last week it should all be resolved by Tuesday.
Lewis met with players and the coaching staff briefly on Monday. They said it was a typical end-of-the-year meeting with no mention of his future. He told players to get healthy or stay healthy, and to take care of themselves in the offseason.
Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com believes that the longer the team goes without making an announcement, the more likely it will be that Lewis will stay. Also, if an agreement is made and Lewis returns, both sides will compromise on issues they've had over the past few years. Although when asked what his terms are, Lewis just says, "We sit down, we talk and we all agree."
Lewis came to the team after the 2-14 2002 season.
"I'm at a different point than I was eight years ago and this team is in a different place than it was eight years ago, and that's a good thing," Lewis said.
The team has two AFC North division titles in that span, swept the division in 2009, but fell from grace in 2010. Cincinnati finished 4-12, third in their division. After much hype around Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, the offense didn't meet any of the lofty expectations set by fans, and players, in the pre-season. Owens and Ochocinco didn't even play in the final two games and neither are guaranteed to be on the roster in 2011.
But many of the players who will be there hope they are running out of the tunnel behind Marvin Lewis.
"The only coach I want to play for is Marvin Lewis," said linebacker Rey Maualuga. "Coach Lewis and his staff gave me an opportunity when no one else in the NFL did."
"He's a players coach. He loves us, he's like a father," defensive lineman Domata Peko says. "He'll correct you, get in your face and tell you when you're wrong, but he also praises you when you are doing well."
"I hope he's back, awesome coach to play for, I just hope he's back," receiver Jerome Simpson says.
Carson Palmer says they just wants to know who will be their leader.
"Our whole locker room will be anxious to find out what happens. This has been looming since beginning of season, its that unanswered question that just hangs over our head and I'm sure coach's head too," Palmer said.
"Nobody knows what is going to happen. You'd like to know what to be prepared for. But you just have to sit back and be still and just keep working and everything will play out," wideout Andre Caldwell says.
No matter what happens, you can be assured, no one is more concerned over who the Bengals coach will be, than the players themselves.
There has been much speculation that if Lewis does not return, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be offered the job. Zimmer said he would not address that.
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