Marvin Lewis calls retirement report ‘unfortunate’ but doesn’t refute it

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 11: Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals helps warm up his receivers prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 11: Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals helps warm up his receivers prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis called the report that he would retire at the end of the season “unfortunate” but stopped short of refuting it during his weekly Wednesday press conference.

“It’s unfortunate that you can have somebody do something like that and I guess cause you guys work,” Lewis told reporters. “You guys can talk about that, but if you want to talk about the Ravens, we can talk about that. If you want to talk about the other, maybe you should talk to Chris Cooley or somebody else.”

Cooley, a former Washington Redskins tight end, said on ESPN 980 radio in Washington that Lewis was planning to retire at the end of the season.

After Lewis’ open-ended response, he was asked if he planned to retire.

“Again, if you want to talk about the Ravens, we’ll talk about them,” he said. “It’s not what I have to deal with. You seem to have to deal with it more than I do.”

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Asked to clarify his comments about 45 minutes after the press conference, Lewis again failed to issue a blanket denial.

“In my mind, I didn’t leave anything open,” Lewis said through a team spokesman. “I just didn’t want to address it. I didn’t want to feed headlines.”

Lewis is under contract through the 2017 season.

He has compiled a 117-103-3 regular-season record and 0-7 in the postseason in his 14 seasons, making him the longest tenured coach in franchise history. Among active coaches, only New England’s Bill Belichick has been with the same team longer (17 seasons).

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