Nik Lewis on retirement: ‘I’ve come to terms with it’

Nik Lewis has made it official: he is retiring from professional football.

“That decision has been made a while back. I’ve come to terms with it. It’s something that you can’t just wake up one day…I didn’t want to allow myself to go back and forth on playing, not playing so I’ve pretty much made up my mind, I’m good, I don’t need to play anymore. So time to move forward,” Lewis told Jock Wilson on 770 CHQR in Calgary.

Lewis, who has played in 226 CFL games, he knew he was done in March and acknowledged the pursuit of the all-time reception record kept him playing towards the end of his career. The 35-year-old broke the career catach mark in 2017 and finishes his playing days with 1,051 catches. Lewis also ranks fifth in receiving yards in CFL history at 13,778, which is 2,574 yards behind leader Geroy Simon (16,352).

“Actually, it even motivated me to come back just thinking about the records and climbing that chart the past couple years and really just realizing that I’m not catching Geroy,” Lewis said.

“I feel like I could play another year, two years. My body feels good, I feel great. It’s time to move forward. There are a lot of factors: new coaching staff, possibly a new quarterback, not knowing what’s going to happen. A lot of factors play into what your mindset is on coming back.”

New Als head coach Mike Sherman factored into the retirement decision for Lewis, which led to him taking more time while collecting a $30,000 off-season bonus in January and then making the final call.

“I don’t know [Sherman] at all, never met him, never talked to him. It’s a feel thing. I don’t think I’m a hard person to get along with right now. Not knowing the full coaching staff until after I got the bonus, that played a part.”

Lewis has spoken with the Montreal Alouettes about other possible roles.

“The process of either becoming a GM one day or becoming a coach one day it’s all about learning. If I can learn both sides at the same time I can get a great jump on it. It’s pretty wide open right now. I want to be used and be valuable and not just be around. The talks have been good – we’ll see here in the next couple days,” Lewis said.

“I’ve always liked the leadership role understanding that a lot of the time the guys could use an ex-player to relate to. Someone that can go back and forth between coaches and front office for the players – I’ve seen a lot, I’ve done a lot, I’ve been hated, I’ve been loved. Anything I can help a team be more efficient that’s a role that I’m looking for.”

Lewis is still under contract with the Alouettes and needs to be released first before he could pursue opportunities with other CFL franchises. He expects that to happen in the “next couple days”.

The gregarious pass catcher wants to be remembered by one word.

“Consistent – that’s it. Being consistently good creates greatness. You don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to be the biggest – you just have to be consistently good. Consistently know what you’re doing, consistently do what you’re supposed to do and consistently make the play and that’s it week after week,” Lewis said.

“My teammates never had to question what they were going to get out of me on game day. It’s pretty well documented the type of entertainment or the type of way I was going to play week to week.”