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Bengals' Lewis blames mystery figure for apathetic fan base

Carson Palmerheads to Oakland, leaving behind a Cincinnati Bengals team that has jumped to a surprising 4-2 start, but coach Marvin Lewis doesn't sense much excitement from one of the NFL's most beaten-up fan bases.

"I can't change people's minds about things," Lewis told The Associated Press on Monday. "You know what I mean? Someone has done a very good job of driving them away from here. And he's been very wrong."

It's unclear what phantom menace Lewis was hinting at, but he later released a statement to soften the dig: "What will bring our fans back is winning, and I shouldn't be thinking out loud like that."

With Palmer set to be a Raider, it's Andy Dalton's show on the field in Cincinnati. But it has been Lewis' team for years.

Lewis is tied with Sam Wyche for most coaching victories in franchise history (64), but he has been through more heartache than Wyche ever experienced, minus the postseason glory. Lewis is right -- winning will lure back the fans -- but who can blame this group for being slow to the draw?

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