Some love stories are too beautiful to end. Even though this love story has the feeling of a Romeo and Juliet-esque ending, the Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis love saga is getting another chapter.
When Hue Jackson was fired from the Cleveland Browns two years too late, just about everyone figured it was just a matter of time before he was wearing a Bengals hoodie on the sidelines at Paul Brown Stadium. Well, on the same day Teryl Austin was relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator, some rumblings started coming out of the Cincinnati media that Hue was as good as hired. Marvin Lewis is taking over the defensive coordinator duties which will pull him from some of his standard game day tasks as the head coach, which left all of us with the same concerns as Mo Egger of ESPN1530:
When asked about Hue’s status at today’s press conference, Marvin did what Marvin does and revealed absolutely nothing, but his shit eating grin/giggle said it all.
Sometimes I love how big of an asshole Marvin is and other times it makes me want to drive down to Paul Brown Stadium and slap him across the back of the head before being tackled by Bengals security. I’d be the first visitor tackled by someone on the Bengals payroll in weeks, assuming Mike Brown isn’t too cheap to employ a security staff.
I keep going back and forth on how to feel about this. There hasn’t been an official announcement, so we don’t know his role yet. But one can assume it will be to serve as some sort of assistant to help with the head coaching duties Marvin will be neglecting while focusing on the defense. One could argue he’s been neglecting those duties for years, but that’s a conversation I don’t have the time or energy for.
I think the fact that we all knew this was going to happen has made it easier to swallow. The Hue Jackson relationship with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals is so comically depressing, but has benefited the Bengals more often that not. After spending two years as the Bengals wide receivers coach where he was responsible for keeping Chad Johnson/Ochocinco under control, Hue bounced from Atlanta to Baltimore and eventually landed in Oakland where he would be promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach for the 2011 season. Why would this benefit the Bengals, you ask? Well, this was during the Carson Palmer-Mike Brown Cold War. A war that eventually ended with the Bengals absolutely fleecing the Raiders for a first and second round pick that eventually turned into Dre Kirkpatrick and Giovani Bernard. Ever heard of them?
After being unceremoniously fired after an 8-8 season in Oakland, Hue would immediately return to Cincinnati on the defensive side of the ball. After a short stint as a defensive/special teams assistant, he was back on the offensive side of the ball, eventually becoming the offensive coordinator. As the offensive coordinator, he helped orchestrate Andy Dalton’s best season of his career in 2015 before accepting the head coaching position of the Cleveland Browns. Even as the Browns coach, he’s been very beneficial to the Bengals considering it’s been nothing but a dumpster fire on Lake Erie, guaranteeing the Bengals wouldn’t always be the laughingstock of the AFC North. If it weren’t for a clerical blunder on Cleveland’s end, the Bengals would’ve gotten another handful of high draft picks out of Hue Jackson in return for AJ McCarron. Classic Cleveland.
After reliving all of that, maybe I’m not really as excited for Hue Jackson’s return to Cincinnati as I am excited for his next job where he’ll try to trade a butt-load of picks to the Bengals for Jeff Driskel. I guess we’ll have to wait a few years, but if I know one thing about the year 2023 for certain: Marvin Lewis will still be the head coach in Cincinnati to welcome him back with open arms.
And we still won’t have a playoff win.