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Marvin Lewis 'relieved' AJ McCarron trade fell through

Marvin Lewis views Tuesday's epically botched trade with the Browns as a blessing in disguise for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team's coach met with reporters Wednesday, expressing happiness over having AJ McCarron still sitting on the roster behind starting quarterback Andy Dalton.

"AJ is a very valuable member of this team and I told him that yesterday [after] everything," Lewis said. "Frankly, I was relieved, so I don't have to go through those gymnastics of the next step. He's a great kid. He's a true team player. He's a leader. He's a leader on this football team, and that's why we felt like he's such a valuable asset and the man upstairs was very clear about it, and so forth, of how we felt about him. So that's the key."

"I'm not angry. I'm not upset," McCarron told reporters, per the team's official site. "It feels good to be wanted," McCarron said. "Today I'm going to thank Mr. Brown personally. I admire that he was going to give me an opportunity to go start and play somewhere. I really appreciate that of him. He's been an unbelievable owner in my experience here."

Late Tuesday, the Browns and the Bengals agreed to a trade that would send McCarron to Cleveland in exchange for the team's second- and third-round picks in 2018. The swap was short-circuited, though, when the Brownsfiled their paperwork to the NFL after the 4 p.m. ET deadline, nixing the deal.

The highly unusual (and embarrassing) gaffe resulted in both teams pointing fingers over who botched the trade, but reporting by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer suggests that Cleveland's front office went about the process in unorthodox fashion, triggering the missed deadline.

The Browns appealed to the NFL to allow the trade to go through, but the league refused to budge, leaving McCarron in a Bengals uniform for the rest of the season.

Lewis "sounded like he was still in disbelief about what happened yesterday," per ESPN's Katherine Terrell, with the coach telling reporters that notifying the league office is a "pretty easy" thing to do.

The failed trade raises plenty of questions about the relationship between Cleveland's coaching staff and front office, not the least being why McCarron was seen worthy of a second- and third- round pick one day after the Patriots shipped Jimmy Garoppolo to the Niners for a lone second-rounder.

Chalk it up as another frustrating wave of events for a Browns team that, by now, is begging for nothing less than a modern-day version of the Warren Commission to descend and unpack these beguilements for all to see in broad daylight.

Ultimately, the Bengals will keep their backup passer while the Browns forge on as a mind-boggling riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

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