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Question for Terence Newman: Retirement or free agency

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Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman will spend the offseason contemplating retirement before committing to anyone in free agency. And if he returned to Cincinnati, it might be more of a mentorship role.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman will turn 37 years old on Sept. 4. Whether or not next season will become his 13th year in the league is something that he wants to think about. In fact, when asked if he's coming back during free agency, Newman responded (via ESPN) that "I don't even know if I want to keep playing."

Let's face facts... after Sunday night and the growing sentiment that he might be losing a step, you'd be as responsive after being part of a 26-10 loss that sent Cincinnati packing for the offseason.

After spending nine seasons in Dallas as a former fifth overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft, Newman signed a one-year deal in 2012 with the Cincinnati Bengals, who featured one of Newman's favorite defensive coordinators in Mike Zimmer. Newman signed a two-year deal in 2013 worth $5 million, it what was presumed to be his last.

"I talked to some guys that when they started kind of thinking of retirement and whatnot, it was more so about them waking up and wanting to go to meetings and feeling how the body was, if the knees gave out or the ankles gave out or shoulders or whatever it was," Newman said via ESPN. "That was part of their deciding factor -- the body just gave out.

A strong start in 2014 offered some argument that he was still playing well enough to keep going. However, he had given up a couple of big plays down the stretch. A 46-yarder against the Broncos eventually led to a five-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders that wiped out Cincinnati's lead and forced the Bengals to play from behind. There was also the 32-yarder against Pittsburgh in Week 14 that eventually led to a 10-yard touchdown pass to Le'Veon Bell and a 17-14 Steelers lead.

If Newman returns, he faces the possibility of being buried on Cincinnati's roster with the emergence of Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard waiting in the wings. Coley Harvey's point on Newman having a contributing role with their development isn't surprising. Despite relative condemnation from fans 24 hours later, stuck in the Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton sphere, the future is still fairly brought with other areas on the team's roster.

"Dre came along pretty damn good," said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who also praised Newman for helping guide the young corners. "If [Dennard] had to go in the game and play 40 snaps and finish a game or finish a half, I had all the confidence in the world in him. ... He's going to be a great player. So don't think that just because he didn't play that we're down on him, because we're not. We're very high on him."

He'll make his decision before the start of free agency. However, that 13th season may not happen in Cincinnati. Perhaps he'll give Mike Zimmer a call, again.