When the Bengals announced that head Coach Marvin Lewis would return with a new contract for 2011, it was suggested by team observers that the negotiations might have included owner Mike relenting on his denial of some things Lewis felt were important to the team’s future success.
Lewis has long favored an indoor practice facility for the team, and Brown has generally objected. However, at the news conference announcing the new deal, Brown addressed the concern specifically.
“Marvin has a desire to have a practice facility. I have a desire, but probably not as keen,” Brown said at the time. “Right now, we’re faced with major issues in the National Football League, and those are at the front of our agenda. When we get through that, then we’ll have time to consider this issue.”
Now comes word that the team is moving forward, albeit in baby steps, towards that goal.
Reports have surfaced from numerous sources, including the team’s mothership site that the Bengals have contacted the Ohio Utility Protection Services for permission to build a facility in one of a number of possible locations.
Although no final decision has been made by the club to go ahead with the project, one of the potential sites could house the practice field that is adjacent to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and could be 70, 80 or 120 yards. The discussions have involved diagrams, maps and drawings and the next step would be the hiring of an architect if the project continues.
There are no concrete plans as of yet, no site selected, and there are several options for the team to consider, one of which would be to simply build a part-time bubble over the existing practice fields. Nevertheless, this is an important step for the organization, and potential evidence of increased clout for Lewis behind the striped curtain.
As the northernmost NFL city without some type of covered practice facilities, the Bengals have again proven to be far behind the times and are hamstringing themselves unnecessarily. The fact that they are proceeding can be seen as a positive step not only in movement towards a more contemporary team structure, but also for winning football games in the future.
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