Editor's note: Three weeks after we published this story, Marvin Lewis agreed to a two-year contract with the Bengals. The team said he'd remain head coach through the 2019 season.
CINCINNATI -- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis will leave after this season for other opportunities, sources tell ESPN.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported it was a mutual decision. The team had no comment.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first broke the news Sunday morning:
After 15 seasons in Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis is planning to leave the Bengals after this season to pursue opportunities elsewhere, league sources tell ESPN.
More on Sunday NFL Countdown.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 17, 2017
But Lewis refuted these claims in a post-game press conference Sunday.
“I have not made decisions about anything, as I’ve told you how many times,” Lewis said.
Lewis became the Bengals' ninth head coach on Jan. 14, 2003, and the team finished that season 8-8 -- a six-game improvement over the prior year. With 15 years with Cincinnati, Lewis has the second-longest tenure in the league after New England's Bill Belichick.
But now he has an expiring contract, an 0-7 career record in the playoffs, and is bound for a second straight absence from the postseason.
The Bengals are 5-8 heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings in Minneapolis. They were already suffering from an emotional hangover from their 23-20 loss on Dec. 4 to bitter rival Pittsburgh when they were drubbed 33-7 at Paul Brown Stadium by a Chicago team that's just 4-9 this year.
Players acknowledged they emerged without much energy and described their worst home loss since 2008 as embarrassing and shocking.