Notre Dame football teammates shocked at veteran's portal exit

Notre Dame Football was stunned as Clarence Lewis entered the transfer portal. Teammates reflected on the veteran DB's departure.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Clarence Lewis (6) runs away from opponents against Tennessee State
Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Clarence Lewis (6) runs away from opponents against Tennessee State / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Considering it’s been months since the Notre Dame football team lost anyone to the portal, Fighting Irish fans were justified in their surprise when reports surfaced that Clarence Lewis planned on departing South Bend. Earlier this week, the senior defensive back made it official with a tweet on X.

In the wake of that announcement, several Notre Dame football players shared their thoughts about the veteran DB. One thing was clear after they had their say. Lewis was a popular member of the squad and he’ll be missed.

“He let us know before it came out,” junior defensive back Jaden Mickey told NDInsider. “He’s always been like a big brother to us. He showed us what it was to work from when we first came in. He was probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around.”

Even with the heads up, some Notre Dame football teammates were stunned by the revelation. Fellow defensive back Christian Gray was among those who took it the hardest.

“I called him immediately saying, ‘Man, what happened to my ‘Warzone’ partner? We’re supposed to be on a (“Call of Duty”) game every day.’ He was like, ‘We can be on a game, man, every time.’”

Notre Dame football players feel the sting of portal departure from Clarence Lewis

“ ‘C’ was a special one — personality and football-wise,” Gray added. “He was just a special guy.”

While his Notre Dame teammates are obviously sorry to see him go, it’s not hard to see why Lewis decided it was time to try things on a different squad. 

The defensive back’s playing time had dwindled quite impressively. In 2021, Lewis’ best season, he saw more than 800 snaps, 53 tackles, an interception, and 4 passes defended. In 2023, he had a career low 236 snaps and just 9 tackles. To his credit, he still had an interception and 3 passes defended.

Still, the writing was on the wall for the Notre Dame football veteran. It will certainly be interesting to see where he ends up.