Sports Today: Marvin Lewis still wants to coach football edition

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

Marvin: We're wasting time talking about this

The likely last chapter of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis era took another strange turn Monday when he would be interested in returning next season. 

Sort of. 

Lewis is coaching in the final year of his contract for the first time since 2010, and after falling to 5-9 and officially being eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday’s loss, the Bengals will fall short of the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-08.

Asked if he wants to be back next year, Lewis said, “I want to coach football.”Asked if he wants to coach football in Cincinnati, he said, “Sure,” before asking the reporter if he was making an offer.

I wasn’t there, but this did not sound too convincing on the radio. 

He was probably just trying to say whatever he had to in order to get the topic out of the way. 

Lewis is definitely a football man first. He doesn’t like to deal with the media, which is his prerogative, and he definitely doesn’t like to talk about things other than football or the present. 

›› Possible candidates to be next Bengals head coach

I believe he wants to keep working in the NFL. I believe he could have already decided he would rather do it somewhere else. 

I also don’t know why the Bengals would have him back. 

This season has obviously spiraled out of control. Even if Lewis came into it on good footing, a change would seem to be in order. 

The way the whole thing was reported is still a little odd to me. 

I don’t doubt the veracity of Adam Schefter’s report. I’m sure he got it from good sources. I just don’t quite understand why anyone who would have this information would be willing to share it at this time. 

Maybe Lewis told the wrong person and that’s how it got out. Maybe he really did want to stick it to the Bengals by quitting before he could be fired, but the way he is acting since the reports was published I tend to doubt that. 

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One of the things I’ve learned about how news breaks is this: A lot of stuff is out there before it’s finished. Before something is finished, there’s always a chance it can change, so publishing it too early brings some risks. 

What is right today could be wrong tomorrow if someone changes their mind. 

Maybe Lewis has made his decision but just doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe he really told some people he is ready to leave then had second thoughts. 

(Hue Jackson telling reporters in Cleveland, “I’ve kind of known about Marvin,” lends some credence to this.) 

Either way, this was a pretty safe report to file because, again, it’s basically inconceivable Mike Brown is bringing back Lewis no matter what Lewis wants. 

RELATED: How every previous Bengals coaching tenure has ended

There’s going to be a fan mutiny if he’s the coach next year. 

While I defended Lewis for a long time — and still think he’s a good football coach and a fine man — everyone who is ready for something new is now certainly justified. 

I guess the only question now is if Lewis falls into that group, but I also don’t think it really matters in the long run… 

Moving on to teams whose season is not over: The Dayton Flyers have a big game tonight on the West Coast. 

David Jablonski is on the scene and reports this St. Mary’s team is like most — good and heavily Australian. 

» ROAD TRIP: Behind the scenes with the Flyers

The Flyers don’t have much to lose in this game. 

They can pick ups a huge win but strengthened the schedule either way. 

One thing to note for this 10 p.m. tipoff: Since the game is on Fox Sports Ohio, it could run into conflict with the broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. 

UD sports information reports the game will be live on the FOX Sports Ohio alternate channel if the NBA game is still going at 10. The Dayton game will then carry over to the main channel in progress. It will also be shown on ROOT Sports Northwest and Spectrum Sports Net… 

As Wright State works on trying to reach a new level under Scott Nagy, he’s an indicator he probably has an idea what he’s doing. 

Guard Justin Mitchell agrees an early-season benching has set him on the right path to providing the performances the Raiders need. 

“I think that was a big part (of the problem) with me — focusing on my stats. Me not getting my stats affected my attitude, and that went into me not playing. If I’m not scoring, that’s OK. I just want to win. When I look up at the scoreboard and see we’re winning, that’s a good feeling.”

Meanwhile, he should also benefit from the addition of Cole Gentry, the transfer point guard who became eligible over the weekend. 

The Raiders play Missouri State tonight.. 

Lastly, did you see the news about the possible return of the XFL? 

I don’t know if this is the answer, but the NFL needs a developmental league. 

I’m pretty sure there could be a market for spring football, and I thought the XFL kind of got a raw deal.

It seemed like since ESPN didn’t have a piece of it, they weren’t interested in seeing it succeed (sort of like the NHL now). 

Ratings took a steep decline as the league’s only season progressed, but I’m sure the relentless negative coverage didn’t help it get a foothold. 

The media landscape has changed significantly over the last dozen years. 

While ESPN is still dominant, it’s no longer a monopoly as far as sports content goes.  

Something doesn’t have to do well on broadcast television (or be one an ESPN channel) to succeed anymore, so the XFL 2’s chances would seem to be much better than the original. 

And another professional football league’s presence might tell us a lot about how badly Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL’s leadership are hurting the game in the present. 

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Jesse Winker: Reds ‘are going to ride the wave’

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias celebrates a victory over the Cubs on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds closer Raisel Iglesias celebrates a victory over the Cubs on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Jesse Winker bounced as he rounded third base, hopping high into the air before slapping hands with third-base coach Billy Hatcher.

“I was pretty happy,” Winker said.

Winker did come back down to earth after his pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh inning. The Cincinnati Reds, however, continue to soar. Their 8-6 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Great American Ball Park gave them a season-high seven victories in a row and 10 wins in their last 12 games.

» RELATED: Injured Senzel sees Reds play in person for first time

Winker’s home run came in a seven-run seventh inning as the Reds rallied from a 6-1 deficit to sweep four games from the Cubs in Cincinnati for the first time since April 1983. None of the current Reds were born when that sweep occurred. Joey Votto was born five months later.

“We were focused on today’s game,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “It wasn’t about a sweep. It’s about trying to just get better and better and win some ballgames. We just really have put a nice string of games together. These other games we were up and really played flawless. Today we were down and kept pushing and came back and got it.”

» PHOTOS: Reds beat Cubs 8-6

While the Reds (32-45) still sit in last place in the National League Central Division, four games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates, they are making up ground fast. They trailed Pittsburgh by 9½ games on June 9. The Reds trailed first-place Milwaukee by 17½ games on June 9 and are now 13½ games back.

“We know what we can do as a team,” Winker said. “We can all play this game. It’s fun to win. But I don’t think anybody’s surprised by what we’re doing. If you look around, we’re all kind of acting pretty normal right now. It’s what we expect to do. It’s cool coming to the field expecting to win. It’s a very good feeling. Right now, we’re on a good wave, and we’re going to ride the wave.”

» RELATED: Reds set sights on escaping basement

The Reds completed their first perfect homestand of at least six games since May 2008. In the last seven games, Reds batters are hitting .322 with 14 home runs.

The Reds even got home runs by pitchers on consecutive days for the first time since 2006. One day after Anthony DeSclafani hit a grand slam in an 11-2 victory, Michael Lorenzen hit a solo home run with the Reds trailing 5-0 in the fifth.

“You just feel the momentum in here,” Lorenzen said. “A game like today, it just feels like we’re not meant to lose.”

Lorenzen and Winker hit pinch-hit home runs, making Riggleman look good.

“With Lorenzen, it’s a matter of not using a bench player with nobody on base,” Riggleman said. “If we had somebody on base, we would have had somebody else hitting. With Wink, he’s a great option to have off the bench. He’s done great things coming off the bench.”

NOTES: Joey Votto went 3-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh with a double. He raised his average to .305. … Raisel Iglesias recorded his 13th save with a perfect ninth inning. … The Reds and Cubs drew 36,818 fans on Saturday and 30,508 fans on Sunday. It’s the first time this season the Reds have topped 30,000 fans in back-to-back home games.

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NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini hit by car while jogging

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini, right, is recovering from injuries after she was hit by a car while jogging Saturday in California.
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini, right, is recovering from injuries after she was hit by a car while jogging Saturday in California.(Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini suffered a skull fracture and concussion Saturday after she was hit by a car while jogging in Novato, California, according to a news release from Venturini Racing.

>> Read more trending news

Venturini, 39, was in California to cover Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup race in Sonoma. She will remain in the hospital for several days, the news release said.

“She’s completely coherent and conversational, and I have talked to her on two occasions today," said Doug Rice, president and general manager of Performance Racing Network. "They told her she would have a really good headache for a couple of days.”

Venturini's father, Bill, is a two-time Auto Racing Club of America champion who founded Venturini Motorsports in 1982, The Sporting News reported.

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Three newest members of Dayton women’s basketball team arrive on campus

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 12:09 PM

Dayton coach Shauna Green watches the team practice before the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton coach Shauna Green watches the team practice before the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

The three newest members of the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team — Ella Skeens, Amari Davidson and Kyla Whitehead — arrived on campus this weekend. The University of Dayton’s second summer session begins Monday and ends with exams Aug. 3-4.

“Very excited to finally have these three on campus!!” Dayton coach Shauna Green wrote on Twitter. “Can not wait to see what the future holds for them.”

» STAFF NEWS: Dayton hires new assistant coach

“Excited to have Ella, Amari and Kyla on campus!” assistant coach Calamity McEntire wrote on Twitter. “They have a sign hanging in their apartment that says, ‘Don’t wish for it, work for it.’ I loved it!!”

Here’s a quick glance at the three Dayton freshmen:

• Skeens, 5-foot-11 wing: She finished her career with 2,283 points. She’s the all-time leading scorer in the history of Chillicothe Southeastern High School, Ross Country and the Scioto Valley Conference. Skeens committed to Dayton on June 4, 2017.

• Davidson, 6-2 forward: The Avon High School graduate committed to Dayton on Aug. 17, 2017. She’ll be the third member of her family to play college basketball. Sierra Davison, a 6-0 forward, played in six games last season as a junior at Cleveland State. Shay Davidson, a 5-11 forward, played in 18 games last season as a freshman at Notre Dame College.

•  Whitehead, 6-2 forward: She helped lead Pickerington Central to the Division I state championship in March. She had nine points and five rebounds in a 49-45 victory against Solon in the title game. Whitehead committed to Dayton on Sept. 26, 2017.

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Reds set sights on moving out of NL Central basement

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

The Reds' Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton celebrate at home plate after a grand slam by Votto in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds' Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton celebrate at home plate after a grand slam by Votto in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

About six weeks ago, Cincinnati Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman talked to his club about setting short-term goals.

“Let's go catch that fourth-place club,” Riggleman said. “Then after that, let's go get that third-place club.”

The Reds seemed destined to spend all season in the National League Central Division basement at the time, and that still seemed the case earlier this month. The Reds were 21 games under .500 on June 9.

» BAD NEWS: Top prospect out for season

However, after winning nine of their last 11 games, including six in a row entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Reds (31-45) have moved within five games of fourth-place Pittsburgh.

Riggleman hasn’t given any motivational speeches to get the team going. He gave those speeches more often in the first month on the job. Now he talks to the team after each game and reviews the game while looking ahead to the next one. He’s more selective about when he makes big speeches.

With the Reds playing almost every day, Riggleman can’t approach the job as a football coach would.

“It’s too much,” Riggleman said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Jim, again with the talk?' I leave them alone a little big and get their attention another time. I think a lot of people think you've got pound in every message every day. It's more subtle in baseball.”

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