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Marvin Lewis criticized Jeremy Hill for prioritizing his health over Bengals' lost season

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There are a few things to unpack here.

Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengal Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Bengals running back Jeremy Hill is opting to have season-ending ankle surgery, and head coach Marvin Lewis isn’t happy about it.

“Jeremy thinks he needs to have ankle surgery,” Lewis said on Monday. “Yeah, I think I would be [surprised]. I think he’s consulted a couple physicians; both said that this was something that could wait until after the season but he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort.”

Hill hadn’t been on the Bengals’ injury report because he wasn’t experiencing ankle problems to the extent that he’d miss game time. That was Lewis’ main gripe.

“I don’t think he had any instance of [a problem] since this August when he rolled his ankle in training camp, or whatever it was, training camp or warm-ups in a game — I can’t remember what it was,” Lewis said. “One of those times in the preseason. But that’s the only instance he’s had this fall.”

Lewis’ comments come across as shady at best. Not only is he throwing his player under the bus, but he’s disregarding his health in a 3-6 season that’s lost at this point. You always hear people talk about “business decisions” in sports, but when it comes down to players making those decisions, there’s a double standard.

Hill has seen a reduced role since the team drafted Joe Mixon this past April. Mixon has gotten the bulk of the carries with 107, compared to Hill’s 37 touches. He’s set to be a free agent this offseason and wouldn’t be doing himself any favors by putting off a surgery playing for a 3-6 team where he’s getting less touches.

Not to mention the fact that it feels like for the first time in his tenure with the Bengals that there’s a real threat of Lewis being fired this offseason. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lewis would like every weapon available at his disposal, especially if something were to happen to Mixon.

Looking at the entire situation, Lewis’ comments on Hill are self-serving and show the NFL’s double standard on who can make “business decisions” without blowback.