Marvin Lewis out as Bengals coach after 16 years

Marvin Lewis' 16-year run as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals is over.

Following a third straight losing season, the Bengals fired Lewis on Monday. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Lewis informed the coaching staff he would not return, and the decision to fire Lewis was made by team owner Mike Brown.

"The team is very appreciative of all that Marvin has accomplished over the past 16 years," Brown said in a statement. "I thank him for what he's meant to this franchise."

Lewis became Cincinnati's head coach in 2003 and made the playoffs seven times. The Bengals, however, failed to move beyond the first round of the postseason under Lewis and amassed six losing seasons, including the past three campaigns.

The team has had its share of struggles over the last three seasons. In 2017, the Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese just two games into the season ahead of reports at the end of the year that Lewis' job was in serious jeopardy. In November of this year they fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

The Bengals finished the 2018 season at 6-10, and Lewis finishes his time as Cincinnati's head coach with a 131-122-3 record. Lewis is the winningest coach in Bengals franchise history.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that Lewis remains interested in coaching and will be a name to watch during this offseason's hiring cycle.

As for the Bengals, Lewis endorsed his friend Hue Jackson as a candidate for his old job. Jackson was fired by the Cleveland Browns in October after two-plus seasons as their head coach. He joined the Bengals as an assistant coach weeks later.

"I think he's more than qualified," Lewis said during a news conference on Monday. "I think he's been in a couple of difficult situations [in Oakland and Cleveland], and that's tough, and it hasn't broke his way. But I think he's an excellent football coach, he's a great motivator, he's detailed. So I think he deserves an opportunity, if not here, somewhere else."

Prior to the team's recent struggles, Lewis was instrumental in transforming the Bengals into contenders in the AFC. Before his arrival in 2003, the Bengals hadn't had a winning season in 12 years. After consecutive 8-8 seasons, the Bengals finished 11-5 in 2005 to claim the AFC North title and their first playoff berth since 1990.

Lewis went on to win four more division titles with the Bengals and he took home NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2009. Cincinnati, however, never advanced past Wild Card Weekend under Lewis, going 0-7 in the postseason. Their last division title -- and playoff berth -- came in 2015.

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