In 2005, David Pollack held out for twenty days, and Marvin Lewis ripped him in the media (even dropped him to third string on the depth chart).
Fast forward to 2009, and here we are again. Andre Smith's holdout is now on day 26, and Lewis has been near silent about negotiations between Smith and the Bengals front office.
Carson Palmer is the key to a winning season this year - Mike Brown said it himself. So at a time when the Bengals should be bending a little bit to protect their 'queen bee' with (arguably) the best tackle in college football, Andre Smith is dangerously close to being paid millions of dollars to be a NON FACTOR in 2009 (after he signs...because eventually, he will sign).
Yesterday, Marvin Lewis had a chance, publicly, to address this issue. Here are his comments:
Q: Are you frustrated that Andre Smith has yet to sign?
ML: “I have no frustration whatsoever, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m happy with the guys here and we’re working with who’s here. When Andre gets here, he’ll make us a better team because he’s a good player. We are where we are, and we’ll just keep moving forward. We’re preparing to go to war with the guys we’ve got.”
Could it be that Lewis has learned his lesson from Pollack (and others) and just keeps his comments to himself?
Or could he be siding with Keels and Smith on the fact that he just wants to be paid what his 'slot' is worth this season, and make a little more than the #6 pick last season. I'm not hear to debate whether it's right or wrong, but that's the way business is conducted in the NFL. Every other team in the 1st round of the draft (except the Niners) has figured out a way to get it done this season, but not the Bengals.
I think one angle to really look at is that Marvin Lewis is done after this season in Cincinnati (his choosing, not Mike Brown's). Being on Hard Knocks, showing his dynamic personality, and effectively marketing himself for a job after he resigns as head coach after the season is a sincere possibility.
Instead of fighting to get Andre Smith in camp (like he did for Pollack), Lewis seems resigned to go to war with Collins at right tackle, and not the (until the end of the 2008 season) consensus number one tackle in college football.
While I agree that you can only worry about the players that are in camp, it does seem strange that Lewis is not raising his voice and sharing an opinion on the subject.
It sounds like someone who is already looking towards greener pastures to me.