Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Lewis tries to soothe Spikes


Bengals won't let linebacker go, new coach says

By John Nolan
The Associated Press

New Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Tuesday he wants to make sure the team keeps linebacker Takeo Spikes.

Lewis said he talked for an hour Monday with Spikes who said last week that he would like to leave as a free agent after five years with the team. Spikes, a first-round pick of the Bengals in 1998, has been frustrated by years of losing by the Bengals, who were 2-14 this season and haven't made the playoffs since 1990.

Spikes, whom the Bengals could force to stay by designating him their franchise player, has been the team's best defensive player but has never made the Pro Bowl, had a winning record or played on Monday Night Football.

Lewis, who directed the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl-winning defense during the 2000 season, said he made it clear to Spikes that he wants the linebacker to stay in Cincinnati.

"He's going to be tagged. He's not going anywhere," Lewis said at a news conference in response to a question about Spikes. "He's going to be fine.

"He has huge goals. I think I can help him with those," he said.

Lewis said he wants to keep players who want to win.

"I want guys like him with that fire in their eyes," he said.




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