TORONTO — Nik Lewis has a tendency to rub people the wrong way.
The Calgary Stampeders wide receiver can come off as your typical pass catcher that relishes the spotlight, but the misunderstood Lewis is more than meets the eye.
“I’m the type of guy that goes home and watches General Hospital," Lewis told sportsnet.ca after practice on Friday. “It’s true. It’s what I do. During the day I’m boring.”
Despite his celebrations or controversial tweeting practices, he and his teammates insist Lewis isn’t quite the character he portrays on the field.
“Sometimes people take that like he’s selfish and wants attention,” Stampeders quarterback Kevin Glenn said. “But that’s just how he is. I’ve seen him around his mother. He’s exactly the same way.”
“When you understand (Nik), the reason we do as players and peers, is because he’s a guy who is very sociable. A lot of charisma, a people person. He wants to exchange conversations.”
Behind the scenes, Lewis has a much different role than the “entertainer”, a name he has referred to himself as in the past.
He is a mentor, a locker room leader and someone the younger players look up to.
“For me, I was a new guy and I was coming to a team that had veterans. He was the guy that welcomed me,” Glenn explained. “When guys see Lewis is giving his approval, they tend to follow. He’s a leader on the team. He can welcome you as a teammate and support you. He, and Keon Raymond were the big leaders who kind of welcomed me like I was part of the family.”
Lewis isn’t one to avoid controversy, though.
The enigmatic slot back was under fire recently for a tweet he posted prior to the West Final.
“I just bought OJ’s gloves on eBay. Now all I need is a white girl named Nicole," which included the hashtag #MaybeALittleToFar.
He was fined for his actions, and played a large role in Stampeders head coach Jim Hufnagel banning his team from tweeting during Grey Cup week in Toronto.
“Sometimes those kinds of things have to take place for a person to better explain themselves," Glenn said. "Like your mother slapping you upside the head. Sometimes you got to know when to do it and when not to do it.”
He offered a brief apology and later gave his most recent game cheque to a women’s shelter.
Sounds like he got the message, right?
But the Southern Arkansas product refuses to change who he is and wants to continue to show his engaging side on and off the field.
“When you face struggles in your life, you tend to enjoy what you do,” Lewis said in reference to on-field antics. “I’m going to go out and enjoy it…I can’t change who I am. I have to enjoy my life.”
The Stamps must not be too concerned.
He was scheduled to hit free agency after the season, but Calgary rewarded him with a long-term contract extension in August after nine years with the club.
Lewis only had one reception in the West final, but that didn’t bother him — he still has a shot at another Grey Cup ring. All he concerns himself with is winning.
Just like his reputation, he doesn’t care what others think.
Lewis doesn’t care if he’s considered a jerk or the greatest person on earth.
He just wants to continue to be Nik Lewis.