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Marvin Lewis on Jermaine Gresham: Has to figure out what he wants to do

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talked about tight end Jermaine Gresham during the NFL Combine, adding that he's open for the veteran tight end to return.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Jermaine Gresham is set to become an unrestricted free agent this March, concluding an emotionally oscillating career in Cincinnati. Head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Thursday that he's open to Jermaine Gresham returning, but the veteran tight end needs to figure out what he wants to do. Perhaps John Locke will schedule a meeting with Gresham in Australia for a walkabout.

Last month, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson told reporters that Gresham has a place in Cincinnati. "There's a place for him. But again, he's free, so that's going to work itself out for him however it works itself out."

Here's an interesting note from the mothership:

If they don’t re-sign Gresham, Jackson indicated that he doesn't consider Ryan Hewitt a replacement to be paired with Tyler Eifert. He wants to keep Hewitt as a guy he can put anywhere at any time as a fullback or in-line tight end.

Coaches are saying the right things publicly with Gresham, but some have said anonymously that they want nothing to do with him. Maybe because of his lack of maturity (disrupting a live interview because he had beef with Dave Lapham) or the confusing nature surrounding his injured toe prior to Cleveland.

Not that we've repeated all of this before, and before, and before that.

Gresham averaged 56 receptions and 544 yards receiving per season with 24 combined touchdowns over his entire career -- and the last season featured his third offensive coordinator within a system that's limited in progressions.

The self-proclaimed villain has taken on the chin for his fumbles, penalties and dropped passes over the years -- despite the fact that his problematic issues have quieted down. During his first three seasons, Gresham dropped 22 passes. Since then (in 2013 and 2014), Gresham dropped only four of 108 catchable passes... and only one in 2014. The penalties went down as well. After generating 20 penalties combined in 2012 and 2013, Gresham ranked fourth on the team with five flags in 2014, sitting behind Terence Newman (8), Adam Jones (7), and Andre Smith (7). On the other hand, Gresham fumbled three times in 2014 -- a career-high. He didn't lose any.