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AFC North Q&A: Will this be Marvin Lewis' final season with Bengals?

With his contract up at the end of the year, Marvin Lewis is entering the season as the lame-duck coach of the Bengals, an organization that's considered one of the most loyal in the NFL. Will that loyalty come to an end for Lewis after the 2017 season? Our AFC North reporters weigh in.

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN's Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: Assuming he finishes the season with an above-.500 record, Lewis will be back in the head seat in 2018. Why walk away from a job that pays nearly $5 million per year and comes with unprecedented job security for a coach with zero playoff wins? If the Bengals aren't going to fire Lewis, then odds are he won't retire unless forced. This feels like a marriage on autopilot, where both parties (Lewis and owner Mike Brown) aren't completely satisfied but are content enough to make it work. The Bengals would have to be blown away by the prospective coaching pool entering January. Still, Lewis' impressive run of five straight playoff appearances from 2011 to '15 isn't far off.

Jamison Hensley, ESPN's Baltimore Ravens reporter: No, although you can't say that with great confidence. Lewis' contract runs out at the end of the season, which is a precarious position for any coach. If Brown wanted to get rid of Lewis, he could have done it the previous two offseasons. Brown had a legitimate reason to let Lewis go after the Bengals' playoff meltdown against the Steelers two years ago. He could've fired Lewis last year after a disappointing 6-9-1 season. Maybe Brown remembers what it was like before Lewis. The Bengals produced nine double-digit-loss seasons and no playoff appearances from 1991 to 2002. With Lewis, Cincinnati has won 118 games and reached the postseason seven times. No, there haven't been any playoff wins. But after all they've been through, it's hard to believe Brown will part ways with Lewis at this point.

Pat McManamon, ESPN's Cleveland Browns reporter: There's a fair amount of chatter and assumption that this will be it. Lewis has been working for the Bengals since 2003, which in the NFL is a couple of lifetimes. Over the years, Lewis has become a bit of a lovable curmudgeon as he becomes less leery of expressing strong feelings. The thing is that Lewis doesn't need to retire. He'll be 59 in September and other coaches have stayed into their 60s. The Bengals emphasized offense in the draft with John Ross and Joe Mixon, so if there is a resurgence and bounce-back from last year's 6-9-1 season with some promise for 2018, it would not be at all surprising to see Lewis back for more.