Ravens Have 'Tremendous Respect' for Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis


Marvin Lewis began his coaching tenure in Cincinnati in 2003, the same year that Terrell Suggs began his NFL playing career in Baltimore.

That's 15 seasons of battles between two men who will forever be known for Baltimore Ravens defense.

Lewis was the Ravens' first defensive coordinator in franchise history and pulled the levers for perhaps the best defense of all-time en route to Super Bowl XXXV victory.

Now there are reports that Lewis will be leaving Cincinnati after this season is over, and if that script is true, the final chapter will take place right here in Baltimore, where Lewis' career took off.

That significance isn't lost on Suggs, who said he "absolutely" expects the Bengals players to want to win one for Lewis if this is his finale with the team.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Marvin. He knows that," Suggs said. "I like competing against him. Anybody that makes you be your best self, there's a certain amount of respect there."

Lewis didn't have the same feelings for Suggs, joking that he's been battling him for "too long!"

Now in his 15th year with the Bengals, Lewis is the league's second-longest tenured head coach, only trailing New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick (18 years).

Lewis has been coaching in the NFL for 26 years and 25 have been spent in the AFC North. He began in 1992 as a linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, went to Baltimore for six years and then 15 in Cincinnati.

"I've been stuck in this division for a long time," Lewis said.

Lewis has brushed aside reports of his departure, and stiff-armed them once again when talking to Baltimore reporters Wednesday.

Asked if his players want to send him off with a win, Lewis laughed and said, "I don't know where they're sending me to. They want to send themselves out with a high note."

"It's important for us to win this football game. This team beat us to open the season and we have an opportunity to return the favor," he added.

But Lewis did acknowledge that he will be filled with emotions this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. He talked about former Ravens Owner Art Modell, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta. He brought up first moving to M&T Bank Stadium.

"Every time I go back there it's an emotional game for me because I have great memories there," he said. "I have incredible memories."

Even though they didn't overlap as co-workers in Baltimore, Lewis and Head Coach John Harbaugh have gone against each other over the past decade. The Ravens have won nine of their meetings, including a 20-0 Week 1 win in Cincinnati this season. The Bengals have won 10.

"Marvin is a great coach. I've always had the utmost respect for Marvin Lewis as a coach and a person. He's been nothing but gracious to us over the years," Harbaugh said.

"Look at how hard they play, and how good they've been. What he's done there over the long haul, to me, is the true measuring stick. It's what you do over the long haul, and he's done it. [I have] nothing but respect, and we expect that team to be highly-motivated come Sunday."

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