CINCINNATI — Marvin Lewis is out as the Bengals head coach, he and the team announced Monday.
"I want to thank the Bengals’ organization, the fans and the city of Cincinnati for their support," Lewis said in a written statement. "I regret I haven’t been able to provide them with the No. 1 goal of being world champions. I also want to thank our players, coaches and team employees for their effort and professionalism over the past 16 years. A lot of fine people have gone through this building in that time, and the organization is better for all of them having been a part of it."
Lewis said in a news conference that the decision to part ways was mutual.
"Mike [Brown] and I both decided it's time ... It was a tough moment for both of us," he said.
The announcement came the day after the Bengals finished their 6-10 season with a 16-13 loss to the Steelers. They blew a 10-0 lead in Sunday's loss.
Lewis was the Bengals' head coach for 16 seasons. He's the team's all-time winningest coach with a career regular season record of 131-122-3. In 2009, Lewis was named NFL coach of the year. He led the team to seven playoff appearances, including five straight, but the Bengals never won a postseason game under him. Lewis' 0-7 postseason record is the worst of any NFL coach, ever.
"I didn't deliver what your No. 1 goal is, and that's to be world champions," Lewis lamented during the news conference.
The Bengals announced that they will begin the search for a new head coach immediately.
Brown, the Bengals' president, said in a written statement that the team "is very appreciative of all that Marvin has accomplished over the past 16 years."
"Personally, I am very fond of Marvin and will miss working with him," Brown said. "He is a friend and a colleague, and I thank him for what he has meant to this franchise. But it is time to turn the page and look toward the next chapter for our organization, and we are excited about what the future holds for the team and our fans."
The up-and-down mix of successes and failures under Lewis' tenure kept him with the Bengals for longer than any other coach to date, but it also frustrated many fans who called for Lewis to be fired after repeated seasons without a playoff win. The Bengals' playoff drought predates Lewis by many years, back to 1991.
Lewis has also seen several of his former assistants go on to become NFL head coaches. Leslie Frazier, Mike Zimmer, Vance Joseph, Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson — who Lewis said deserves an opportunity in Cincinnati or elsewhere — were all assistants under Lewis.
The team also saw numerous stars play under Lewis, like Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, A.J. Green and Geno Atkins. He also coached 21 Pro Bowl players who made a combined 48 appearances.
Lewis showed compassion for many of his players, even at times when his decisions to give them a second chance were unpopular with fans. Databases used to document NFL player arrests show that since 2000, the Bengals have had more than 40 arrests. But Lewis acted as a father figure to some of those players who ran into trouble. Former Bengal Adam "Pacman" Jones has said that Lewis "saved [his] life" and "made [him] a better person." The Marvin Lewis Fund has also raised $11.6 million for education and youth initiatives since 2003, according to its website.
Before coming to Cincinnati, Lewis was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for Washington. He spent six seasons as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, and in 2000 he led a defense that "has been widely considered as one of the best NFL defenses of all time," according to NFL.com.
Lewis said he still wants to coach.