- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- Bengals president Mike Brown, who very rarely addresses reporters these days, may have decided to discuss quarterback Andy Dalton's looming contract extension before a kickoff luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium on Tuesday, but his head coach is done discussing the issue.
Apparently Dalton is, too.
"We're not going to talk about it anymore, thank you," Lewis said, stopping one questioner who was curious about when the deal needed to get done. "That's the same thing he's [Dalton] going to tell you when he gets to tell you. We've talked enough about it. It'll get settled, and when it gets settled it will be done. We don't need to continue to ask the questions, and I've asked [head of Bengals media relations] Jack [Brennan] to share that with you, to quit asking about it.
"And when the national people come in that aren't here, it's the same thing. We've talked enough about it. It's part of professional sports so just let it go."
Well, there you have it. The public conversations about Dalton's contract are officially over, as far as Lewis is concerned. That sentiment echoes other comments Lewis has made this summer. After spending his availability sessions at the combine and owners' meetings discussing the contract situation, Lewis shied away from talking about it when asked during the end of the organized team activity practices in June.
Dalton is set to make nearly $1.7 million this season, which concludes his rookie contract. He could earn more than $18 million annually on a deal that would put him a little closer to the top of quarterback heap. To that end, he'd arguably be a second-tier quarterback, although he has been regarded a tier 3 quarterback, according to a recent ESPN Insider survey featuring general managers, scouts, players and coaches. ESPN's Ron Jaworski also recently dubbed Dalton the No. 18 player on his list of NFL quarterbacks.
Lewis contends fans don't care about the minutia involved with extensions like Dalton's. He believes they only care once the ink has dried on the contract.
"They only care about it when it's signed," he said. "It will be a big day, so save some space for that."
Maybe that day is on the preseason horizon? If so, Lewis' lips won't be staying sealed on the matter for too long.
3hEric D. Williams