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Bengals Bytes (1/3): Marvin Lewis says ‘the job is not done’

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Marvin Lewis is excited to try and finish what he started in Cincinnati, and the players are rallying behind him

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Bengals QB Andy Dalton on donations from Bills fans: "I can't say thank you enough"
A winning touchdown pass by Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton has turned the quarterback into a hometown hero in Buffalo. As a thank-you for helping snap their 17-year playoff drought, Buffalo Bills fans flooded the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation, with many donating exactly $17.

Marvin Lewis on staying with the Bengals: “The job’s not done”
Marvin Lewis cited unfinished business with the Cincinnati Bengals after signing a two-year extension with the franchise on Tuesday. “The job’s not done,” Lewis said, via Geoff Hobson of “I was entrusted to win a Super Bowl and I have the opportunity to finish it.”

The Cincinnati Bengals made the right move by bringing back Marvin Lewis
There usually is a surprise move or two during the firing-and-hiring cycle for NFL coaches. More often than not, that involves a coach being unexpectedly fired. The surprise move of this coaching cycle, at least so far, is the Cincinnati Bengals’ decision Tuesday to retain Marvin Lewis as their coach. It was the right move for the Bengals, even with their lack of playoff success in 15 seasons under Lewis and their shortage of success of any kind in the past two years.

Why Did the Bengals Take Marvin Lewis Back?
Maybe this was a human moment in the typically callous world of the NFL. Maybe Marvin Lewis and the Bengals were fed up with each other for some time, went through divorce proceedings and decided they were still meant to be together. Maybe both parties took a look at other options, really considered it, and chose the comfort of a familiar face. Maybe, after Lewis signed a two-year extension Tuesday that was unfathomable just a week ago, which will keep him in Cincinnati for a total of 17 seasons, the most sensible explanation is that life and relationships are complicated.

Players rally around Lewis
Not much gets by George Iloka, the traffic cop of the Bengals secondary. When word broke as the business day ended Tuesday that head coach Marvin Lewis had re-upped for two more years, he wondered what all the fuss was about. “I knew he was coming back,” Iloka said. “I could feel certain vibes. Just by some of the stuff he’d say. Stuff like, ‘When we get back here (next year), and he’d let the ‘we,’ slip. I think that tells he was thinking about it and wanted to do it.”

TDBH: Fans’ Rumble in The Jungle helps lift Bengals to first post-season win
The Bengals offer a steel-belted effort today in a tight, taut, well-played AFC Divisional game that sees the Bills come back from 14-0 and 21-14 deficits at Riverfront Stadium. But the Bengals stave off a late threat to win their first post-season game ever when running back Charles Alexander races for a career-high 72 yards and two touchdowns, record-setting tight end Dan Ross makes a catch in all four scoring drives as well as a third-down conversion on the clinching drive to lead the lethal passing attack with six catches for 71 yards, and the defense picks off quarterback Joe Ferguson twice in a 28-21 victory. “It’s been a long time and it’s sweet,” says 13-year cornerback Ken Riley, who played in the club’s three previous post-season appearances in 1970, 1973, and 1975 that were all one-and-done.

Lewis eyes offense in return
Marvin Lewis said he had no change of heart. The reports of his departure as the long-time Bengals head coach at the end of this season turned out to be “Dewey defeats Truman.” Lewis didn’t step away from the Bengals or get kicked upstairs Tuesday, as several outlets reported would happen two weeks ago. Instead he signed up for the same job he’s had for the last 15 seasons for two more years.

Bengals Sign Head Coach Marvin Lewis Through 2019
The Bengals today signed head coach Marvin Lewis to a two-year contract through the 2019 season. Lewis in 2018 will extend his Bengals-record head coaching tenure to 16 seasons, twice that of both Paul Brown (1968-75) and Sam Wyche (’84-91), who are tied for second with eight seasons each. Lewis is the winningest coach in Bengals history with 125 career victories, which ranks 26th all-time in NFL history and fourth among active coaches.

Tale of two QBs
A tale of two quarterbacks as they left for an offseason of doubt: Andy Dalton, who is thanking Buffalo instead of shuffling off to it as the hottest quarterback in Western New York since the iconic Jim Kelly, is cool to the idea of a change at the top. AJ McCarron just wants change. Of venue.

Bengals are bringing back Marvin Lewis, but changes still needed
The Cincinnati Bengals and Marvin Lewis just can't quit each other. The team announced Tuesday that Lewis will return next season, signing him to a two-year contract that runs through the 2019 season. This comes after two days of discussions between Lewis and team owner Mike Brown that were all about “getting on the same page.”

Carson Palmer of Arizona Cardinals announces retirement
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer announced his retirement Tuesday in an open letter after 14 seasons with three teams. Palmer, 38, who was drafted first overall in 2003, said he felt the time was right to walk away from football. "Over the years, I've had teammates who decided to hang it up and I would ask them how they knew when it was time to walk away," Palmer wrote. "The answer was almost always the same: You just know.

AFC North Bytes

Report: Ravens trying to hire Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator
The Ravens have spoken to Chuck Pagano in an effort to lure him back to Baltimore as the team’s defensive coordinator, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun reports. Pagano served as the Ravens’ secondary coach from 2008-10 before a promotion to defensive coordinator in 2011. He became the Colts head coach in 2012, and Indianapolis fired him this week.

Report: Alonzo Highsmith leaving Packers front office, joining Browns
The Green Bay Packers' search for the next general manager has just begun, but one of the presumed in-house candidates has left for another job. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Ryan Wood, senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith plans to join the front office of the Cleveland Browns.

Todd Haley Reportedly Injured Hip After Being Pushed Down Outside Pittsburgh Bar
Pittsburgh police investigated an incident in which Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was shoved to the ground at a Pittsburgh bar on New Year's Eve, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday.

Random Bytes

Fuel Gauge: How Much Do Notable NFL Vets Have Left in the Tank?
It's a dilemma that presents itself to the NFL's senior set each and every year: To play or not to play. The league is home to a young man's game—especially in an era when rookie contracts are so team-friendly. Odds are good that if you've kicked around the league for a decade, your salary is bigger than that of the kid who just got there.

Jon Gruden ‘Will Be Perfect’ for Derek Carr, Raiders
I recorded 2003 Buccaneers draftee Chris Simms for my podcast this week. (It drops Wednesday morning.) Simms, who played and jousted for five seasons with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, feels the way I feel. Gruden’s very likely to be named coach of the Raiders in the coming days. So I asked Simms, who sat in quarterback and team meetings, what kind of coach Derek Carr is about to get.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Ray Lewis Headline 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Finalists
The modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class were announced Tuesday during an NFL Network broadcast, and they included linebacker Ray Lewis, linebacker Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Terrell Owens and wide receiver Randy Moss.