Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension Tuesday, providing him yet two more chances to try to get the Cincinnati Bengals the playoff victory that has eluded him for 15 seasons.
The agreement came after a second straight losing season and two days of discussions with owner Mike Brown. Lewis has the second-longest active coaching tenure in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick’s 18 seasons with New England.
Unlike Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls and made two other appearances in the title game, Lewis is 0-7 in the playoffs, the worst coaching record in NFL history. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of futility in league history.
Paul Brown Stadium was half-empty for the final home game, an indication fans had given up on the team and were hoping for change.
Instead, Brown decided to stay the course and keep Lewis, who wanted more say over the coaching staff and the roster if he stayed.
“Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here,” Brown said in a statement.
Lewis committed to winning
Lewis planned to meet the media on Wednesday. He said in a statement that he was committed “to making the necessary improvements to put this team in the best position to win.”
Lewis has acknowledged that he would have been fired in any other NFL city. Instead, he’s gotten second and third chances — and now a 16th chance — to lead the Bengals to a post-season win. Brown, an owner who values loyalty, has decided to keep Lewis around.
On Monday, Lewis said he was interested in staying only if he and Brown had a common vision for changes that needed to happen. He said the organization needs to do a better job building a roster that can contend for an AFC North title.
Under Lewis, the Bengals have had some of their best regular seasons and some of the worst playoff moments.
The mastermind of Baltimore’s Super Bowl championship defence in 2000, Lewis came to Cincinnati before the 2003 season — a rare outside hire by the Brown family. Lewis turned the Bengals into a competitive team and then a playoff team after years of languishing as a laughingstock.
Gruden to Raiders?
Jon Gruden says he hopes he’s a candidate to return for a second stint as coach of the Oakland Raiders and believes a final decision will be made next week.
Gruden made his most specific comments in an interview Tuesday with the Bay Area News Group about the opening in Oakland created when the Raiders fired Jack Del Rio following a disappointing six-win season.
Gruden said that he understands interviews will be conducted this week. When asked if he was a candidate he responded: “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.”
The Raiders are not commenting on the search beyond a statement issued Sunday night from owner Mark Davis thanking Del Rio for his tenure.
Gruden has spent the past nine seasons working as an announcer for ESPN and is scheduled to work the playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. He previously coached the Raiders from 1998-2001 and won a Super Bowl as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2002 season.
Palmer hangs ’em up
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is retiring after 15 NFL seasons.
Palmer, who turned 38 last week, made the announcement in an open letter released Tuesday by the Cardinals. Palmer missed the last nine games of what would be his final season with a broken left arm.
An open letter from Carson Palmer.<br><br>Carson calls it a career » <a href=”https://t.co/3tkaqIqQaD”>https://t.co/3tkaqIqQaD</a><a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CheersToCarson?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CheersToCarson</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9m8Qs5yWpQ”>pic.twitter.com/9m8Qs5yWpQ</a>
He called his long professional career “the most incredible experience of my life.”
The statement came one day after Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement. Arians and Palmer spent the last five seasons together.
Palmer was a Heisman Trophy winner at USC and the No. 1-overall pick by Cincinnati in 2002. He threw for 46,247 yards, 11th-most in NFL history, in a career with the Bengals, Oakland and Arizona.