CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, whose team has had several run-ins with the law, apologized Thursday for comments about police possibly targeting his players.
``Yesterday, I gave a radio interview and made some comments that did not illustrate the high regard I have for the Cincinnati Police Department. I apologize that what I said did not reflect my true feelings,'' Lewis said.
Lewis' statement came a day after a radio interview that drew a response from Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher. Talking on Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show about Bengals off-field problems, Lewis noted that wide receiver Chris Henry was pulled over in March after not signaling a turn while driving in Cincinnati.
Lewis said he thought such a traffic stop indicated there was profiling at work.
But on Thursday, the Bengals released a statement from Lewis saying that he didn't believe Cincinnati police were targeting his players.
``At no point did I say or mean to imply that these issues had anything to do with race,'' Lewis said. ``When I spoke of our players being perhaps more subject to scrutiny than others, I was referring to their standing as public figures.''
Lewis said the Bengals have had a good relationship with Cincinnati police and that he has ``great respect'' for Streicher and the entire department. He personally expressed his regret to Streicher.
Streicher said that, after talking with Lewis, he accepted the comments were a case of something coming out differently than what was meant.
``I have known and respected Marvin since he came to Cincinnati, and in no way do I feel he would intentionally disparage our department,'' Streicher said in a statement.
Henry received traffic tickets on March 25 for driving with a suspended license, failing to use his turn signal and a seat belt violation. He was allowed to go into a license intervention program to settle the charges.
The third-year pro, who has been suspended by the league for the first eight games of the 2007 season, is among nine Bengals players who were arrested over a nine-month span. Henry was arrested four times - none of them in Cincinnati.
He was a focus of reports this week that initially alleged he had failed a drug test. His attorney and Kentucky state officials said Wednesday that Henry's drug screenings were clean. They are part of his probations in Orlando, Fla., for carrying a concealed weapon and in Kenton County, Ky., for allowing minors to drink in a hotel room he rented.
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