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Bleacher Report continues to push Marvin Lewis rumors despite sources denying them

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Jason Cole of Bleacher Report is standing firm in his statements regarding the rumors surrounding Marvin Lewis, but the change in rhetoric could suggest he's backing down.

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On Wednesday, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported that the Bengals are fed up with Marvin Lewis, based on conversations he's had with "multiple sources in and around the organization." The reports stirred up plenty of controversy, but two days later, Cole is sticking to what he said (or at least so it seems).

On Friday, Cole reiterated what he said Wednesday, reporting that "concerns remain" about Lewis, despite the team's offer to extend him on a new contract. This report could be seen as a response to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jim Owczarski, who spoke with "a source with direct knowledge of the situation," reporting "there's nothing to" the rumors surrounding Lewis.

Also mentioned in Owczarski's response was a quote from Mike Brown, coming in an interview with the Cincinnati media during the NFL's league meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

"I commend Marvin's achievements," Brown said. "He's done remarkably well with our football team here, in recent years especially. I respect him. I like him personally. He's going to be our coach this year. That's in the bank. Where it goes, we'll see how it plays out."

Cole's attempt to bring up the fact that Lewis has yet to sign his contract seems irrelevant, considering how the Bengals head coach hasn't coached up until his deal's expiration since 2010.

Additionally, Lewis has waited until as late as late April and even July to sign past extensions. Perhaps these rumors will persuade Lewis to just sign the extension now and focus on getting his team ready in order to avoid more controversy.

Update: Lewis agreed to a contract extension later on Friday.

The comment that struck me most in Cole's report was that Lewis "may only have one more year if the team does not perform to the expectations of management" This seems very redundant, because any NFL head coach can be fired if he underperforms management's expectations, Bill Belichick included.

Furthermore, Lewis' extension would only be for one additional year, so even if he signs the extension, it's entirely possible management could decide to cut ties with the head coach. That's nothing new.

One thing has changed in Cole's report, however, that goes unmentioned.

On Wednesday, Bleacher Report insinuated that the organization's impatience with Lewis had to do with a lack of playoff victories. However, on Friday, when talking about Cincinnati's supposed impatience with Lewis, Cole references the team's ability to win a championship rather than its inability to win a playoff game, which are two entirely different concepts when it comes to the Bengals.

And while though the caption "Team willing to part with Lewis if no playoff win" appears in the video report, Cole doesn't even address the issue of winning a single playoff game, let alone use the word "playoffs."

The change in rhetoric is worth noting, as it seems Cole may be backing down after the backlash Bleacher Report received for the story regarding the Lewis rumors on Wednesday.