Bengals coach Lewis calls Manziel ‘a midget,’ later apologizes

UPDATE (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. ET): Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis issued a full apology on the matter in a statement:

"I’m aware that my comment on local radio last night was offensive to people of short stature and to their families and friends. It was thoughtless on my part to use the word I did, and not excusable, and I greatly regret it. I since have read about this issue on the Little People of America website. I understand it better, and as I have apologized to Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns community, I offer the same to all others who I offended, and I pledge that I will learn from this. I hope that my mistake and the resultant publicity may serve at least to help others not make similar insensitive comments in the future."

UPDATE (Monday, 11 p.m. ET): Lewis apologized through a statement late Monday night for his comments earlier in the day about Johnny Manziel.

"I apologize to Johnny, the Browns and to all the fans in Cleveland. It was just a poor remark. I really didn’t mean anything by it."

The Associated Press left a message with the Browns, seeking a response from the club.

There were hints Monday that the Cleveland Browns are going to make a change to rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel for Sunday’s game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. 

That made for a great conversation piece for Bengals coach Marvin Lewis during an appearance Monday night on the BengalsLine show on WLW radio.

Asked if the Browns inserting the mobile Manziel would change how the Bengals prepare for the game, Lewis said it would not. 

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"You defend the offense, not the quarterback," Lewis told host Lance McAlister. "Particularly a midget."

Manziel, who’s listed at 6-feet tall, is a popular midget. He became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 at Texas A&M but has played in only three games this season and for two full series. Last week, Browns coach Mike Pettine admitted talk of changing to Manziel from struggling starter Brian Hoyer was "warranted" but stuck with Hoyer. 

Lewis made the "midget" comment in front of a live audience at the Holy Grail Tavern and Grille in Cincinnati. It figures to be good for a chuckle in lots of places.

The Bengals are 8-4-1 and in first place in the AFC North by a half-game after losing at home Sunday to Pittsburgh. The Browns are 7-6 and dominated the Bengals in the first meeting of the season between the teams in early November.

You can hear the interview below: