MONTREAL — Montreal Alouettes receiver Nik Lewis has asked for and been granted his release by the team, Lewis announced Thursday.
The 35-year-old revealed at the end of 2017 that he would not be returning for a 15th season in the league, and while nothing’s been made official, it’s believed he will sign with the Stampeders before announcing his retirement.
Lewis says he’s leaving the Alouettes to pursue other opportunities.
“For the last couple of months I knew I wasn’t going to play anymore,” he said in a video published to YouTube. “I just didn’t find the desire to play anymore. I want to thank the Montreal Alouettes. It’s been great. My teammates there, so many guys have helped me grow as a person.”
The video can be watched in its entirety below:
Lewis indicated last October that his CFL career would be ending after 14 seasons, Tweeting his goodbyes roughly an hour after a 37-12 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“Thanks everyone,” he said at the time. “Can’t wait for the book to come out on how I spent my last 4,877 days.”
In the end, Lewis will be remembered as one of the best receivers ever to play the game — and certainly the most unique. He finishes his career with 13,778 receiving yards and 1,051 receptions, going over the 1,000-yard mark in 10 different seasons.
It’s been speculated that the receiver could pursue a number of paths after his playing career, including broadcasting, coaching or, potentially, a front office role.
Thursday’s news caps off a three-year career in Montreal for one of the league’s most productive all-time receivers.
“It’s a hard day to be leaving another organization,” Lewis said in the video. “To be 3-15 last year, I always said we were undefeated in the locker-room. We fought for each other. We didn’t win a lot, we had a lot of struggles, but in that locker-room no one could tell us we weren’t undefeated.
“We always knew we were on a road, on a path to success. I wish them success this year and I hope that they do well this year. A lot of friends there that I’m rooting for on a daily basis, on a weekly basis.”
He added: “Thank you to the wonderful fans in Montreal, the dedicated fans that were there week in and week out when we weren’t performing well. I’m going to miss you. Thank you for a wonderful three years of my life. You never know, this is a small league, it’s not very big so maybe I’ll get another run in Montreal in a different position . . . but for now it’s time to move forward.”