Marvin Lewis dodges questions about whether he'll return to Bengals next year

Posted at 4:01 PM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 19:15:37-05

CINCINNATI  — Marvin Lewis dodged questions Monday about whether he'll return as Bengals coach next year -  or even if he wants to.

"It’ll be addressed when we address it," Lewis said when asked about his future during his weekly news conference.

"Let it die down. It causes a lot of people a lot of angst."

"We're wasting a lot of time talking about this."

"It's not the pertinent thing right now. The pertinent thing right now is to coach the football team, and that's what my job is and what I'm supposed to do. Anything else?"

Asked  if he wants to be back in Cincinnati next year, Lewis replied by saying only that he wants to coach. Asked if he wants to do that in Cincinnati, he simply said, "Sure."

Lewis, whose contract is up in two more games, denied media reports Sunday that he will not return next season. ESPN's Adam Schefter said Lewis wants to pursue other opportunities. NFL Network's. Ian Rapoport said it was a mutual decision between Lewis and Bengals owner Mike Brown.

Lewis says he hasn't made a decision about next year and hasn't talked to Brown about his contract.

 Reporters repeatedly asked Lewis about his job future Monday and Lewis talked in circles - essentially saying he would cross that bridge when he comes to it.

Lewis has said he might be interested in becoming general manager of an NFL team.

  The Bengals (5-9) are coming off back-to-back drubbings by the Bears and the Vikings that indicate they've lost their focus and desire. But Lewis disputed that.

"Nobody checked out of that game yesterday .. or will they check out," Lewis said.

Lewis blamed Sunday's 34-7 loss on a failure to execute and take advantage of opportunities. It was the same refrain after the 33-7 home loss to the Bears two Sundays ago.

The Bengals close the season with a final Christmas Eve home game against the Lions and a New Year's Eve game at Baltimore. Attendance for Sunday's game could be a season-low.  They're averaging only 54,026 fans this year, a drop of nearly 8,000 per game from two years ago.

It will be the Bengals' second straight losing season after a string of five straight playoff appearances, though they never won a playoff game in that stretch or in seven postseason games under Lewis. 

The Bengals are 11-18-1 in the last two seasons.