INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the most interesting yet undercover storylines with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason is the contract status of head coach Marvin Lewis.
With only one year left on his deal, Lewis is coming off a successful 2009 season in which he led the Bengals to the playoffs and was honored as the NFL Coach of the Year. But both sides have yet to reach a long-term agreement.
"Well, we've talked about it in October and we've talked about it again after the season," Lewis said. "We'll see what happens. Hopefully, it will be something that gets worked out."
Without actually saying it, Lewis confirmed in a roundabout way what many NFL insiders are already aware of: Coaching the Bengals can be a tough gig at times due to the heavy-handed ownership of Mike Brown.
There has been a constant back-and-forth struggle behind the scenes between ownership and Lewis and his coaching staff over football decisions. Some of that was documented in HBO's popular "Hard Knocks" television series last summer.
Ownership tends to be very hands-on with personnel and sometimes makes head-scratching decisions. Over the years Lewis and his coaches have had to make it work.
But the difference this year is Lewis is heading into the final year of his deal with a lot of leverage after winning the division and being honored as the league's best coach.
Obviously, both sides are talking years and money. But also expect some philosophical things to be up for discussion before Lewis signs on the dotted line.
"There's a lot of things [in terms of] what we're doing and how we're doing things -- all of those things are important to me," Lewis said candidly. "There were things that when I started this job in 2003 that were important, and we can't change those.
"We have to stay on track and I have to make sure that we're continuing to progress that way. Those are the things that are as important to me as anything."