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Marvin Lewis mocks Johnny Manziel, apologizes

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Cleveland coach Mike Pettine has chosen Johnny Manziel as the Browns' quarterback this week, and the rookie won't lack for motivation against the Bengals in his first NFL start.

Opposing coach Marvin Lewis couldn't have been more dismissive when asked by WLW-AM in Cincinnati Monday night about the possibility of facing Manziel this week.

"You've got to go defend the offense," Lewis said. "You don't defend the player."

After a short pause, Lewis then added: "Particularly a midget."

Lewis quickly said sorry Monday night.

"I apologize to Johnny, the Browns and all the fans in Cleveland," Lewis said. "It was just a poor remark. I really didn't mean anything by it."

It's a rare slip of the tongue by one of the most publicly taciturn NFL head coaches. It's almost as if Lewis forgot he was on the air for a split second and dropped his filter, allowing his inner voice to come through.

From his lifestyle to his playing style, Manziel is no stranger to drawing strong opinions from NFL lifers. Who knew it would be his relatively small stature that would rub Lewis the wrong way?

As if Manziel's first pro start won't generate enough hoopla of its own, Lewis' slight will add more fuel to the fire in an intrastate rivalry most famous for a former Bengals coach's jab at Cleveland nearly 30 years ago.

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