Lewis: Coles added ‘professionalism’ to Bengals


INDIANAPOLIS — Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made it clear Friday that he wants improvement in his team’s vertical passing game. Whether or not Laveranues Coles is part of the solution remains to be seen, but the coach vigorously backed the veteran wide receiver.

“Laveranues really came in and added a sense of professionalism that that room needed — severely,” Lewis said. “And he did a great job in that and was a great professional.”

Lewis also credited Coles with helping Chad Ochocinco produce another Pro Bowl season. However, Coles’ numbers (43 receptions for 514 yards and five touchdowns) were some of the lowest of his career, and he has three years remaining on a four-year, $28 million contract with the Bengals.

One possible solution to the Bengals’ vertical-passing problem could be the recovery of Jerome Simpson, a 2008 second-round draft pick who has just one career catch because of injuries.

“He could be that guy — he should be that guy,” Lewis said. “That’s why we drafted him.”

— Justin Hathaway

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