Not long after Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis settled into his seat for his Monday press conference did the topic turn from Sunday’s win against the Jets to the upcoming game against the Steelers.
Lewis knew where the questioning was going and wasn’t having any of it.
“New team. New season. New year,” he said not once but four times as multiple reporters tried multiple ways to phrase questions about last year’s playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
Later when cornerback Adam Jones entered the locker room during the open period, he made a quick declaration when he saw a group of cameras headed his way.
“I ain’t talking about Pittsburgh,” said Jones, who said plenty in a profane video posted to his Instagram after the 18-16 wild-card loss last year.
“(Expletive) ref did a horrible (expletive) job,” Jones ranted. “You got (expletive) Jerry (sic) Porter in the middle of the (expletive) field talking (expletive) to everybody and then when somebody say something to him, he don’t even supposed to be on the (expletive) field.”
It was Jones’ exception to Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter being on the field after Vontaze Burfict’s hit on Antonio Brown — which left the wide receiver concussed and drew a 15-yard penalty — that to led to Jones’ bumping of an official, which drew a 15-yard penalty and made Chris Boswell’s game-winning field a 35-yarder instead of a 50-yarder.
Jones’ fellow defensive back safety George Iloka didn’t shut down questions about the Steelers, but he answered them carefully.
“It’s a division game,” he said. “You already know what it brings, whether it’s the Ravens, Steelers or Browns. All those games are tough and physical.
“The only thing we can take away from the last game were things schematic wise that they might try to hit us with the things that we need to correct,” Iloka continued. “But nothing in terms of vendettas.”
Rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd also talked about the rivalry, even though this will be his first Bengals-Steelers game. Boyd is familiar with what the game means as a Pittsburgh native who played at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Of all the games that have been played when I’ve been around campus, the only one I ever heard about consistently is the Bengals games, Bengals-Steelers,” Boyd said. “Everybody around there knows when the Bengals are coming to town, so it’s just being able to be a part of that rivalry means a lot to me and know that I’m going out there playing in a real tough matchup.
“I actually can’t wait,” he added. “Hopefully I can make a touchdown coming back to my hometown. I’ve played on that field so many times it’s like I know the tracks. I grew up playing there, so hopefully I can come up with a lot of big plays.”