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Ready for next challenge, Cwynar calling it a career

Jan 18, 2012, 1:14 AM EDT

Sean Cwynar

Rumors swirled yesterday that defensive tackle Sean Cwynar, a key contributor along the defensive line, had been telling classmates in Notre Dame’s MBA program that he wouldn’t be coming back next year to Notre Dame. On Tuesday, Cwynar broke the news to the Chicago Tribune, explaining why he’s walking away from his fifth year of eligibility to begin the next chapter in his life.

“I talked to Coach Kelly last night about it and he reiterated it that he still wanted me, but he knew from previous talks that I was leaning toward other options, being able to utilize two awesome degrees from Notre Dame,” Cwynar told the Chicago Tribune. “I just donโ€™t think staying around and taking one credit in summer and nine in the fall is a good use of my time. I loved my experience here but I just think it’s time for me to move on and pursue other things.”

While he won’t play out his eligibility, Cwynar is a model student-athlete that Notre Dame can be proud of. After spending much of the spring recovering from back and foot surgery, the Chicagoland native battled through a broken hand and the ascension of Louis Nix to be a valuable contributor along the defensive line of the Irish, making 23 tackles in 12 games for Notre Dame. More importantly, he’ll exit Notre Dame with an MBA and a degree, and a plethora of job opportunities that capitalize on his management consulting studies.

When projecting fifth year candidates, I always assumed Cwynar would be back. He’s a valuable veteran contributor along the defensive line, and while he gave way to Nix in the starting lineup, he’s a versatile lineman that can play in both three and four down alignments.

While walking away won’t be easy, Cwynar knows he’s done as much as he can academically at Notre Dame, and simply couldn’t validate a return next fall if there’s nothing more for him to pursue academically.

“It’s been really tough,” Cwynar said. “I’ve been thinking about it really hard for the past three months. It’s a huge decision to stop playing. I love the game and I love playing for Notre Dame. It’s one of best experiences I’ll have for the rest of my life. I’ll love the program forever and I hope they’re very, very successful in the future and I know they will be… I couldn’t imagine myself coming back and not being able to pursue anything academically. I just really think it’s time to move on.”

As the Irish plot out their 85 man roster, it appears John Goodman will be back in an Irish uniform next year, according to reports from several media outlets. Add to that a still growing recruiting class that also could include Armond Armstead, a versatile defensive lineman with one year of eligibility left, and the Irish won’t lack options up front, quite a different scene than you’d have expected even two years ago.

Cwynar’s scholarship gives Notre Dame added flexibility as they approach Signing Day. But it also provides another wonderful example for those keeping an eye on the Irish football program. Cwynar might be leaving his football career behind, but there’s no doubt he’s got a professional career in front of him.


  1. trbowman - Jan 18, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    I hope the Armstead brothers are as good as the bash brothers in the Mighty Ducks.

    • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      This from another site on Armstead.
      The poster says he’s worked in the media for a long time and has lots of contacts.

      Who knows if this is on target or 4th hand.

      I just got off the phone with a friend who works in the media in California. Here is what he had to say

      Arik wants to go to Auburn (Loved ND) but wants to go to Auburn. They maybe wait for the SEC to get the waver done for his brother, If thats dosnt happen they both will be at ND. He also said he thinks Stanford has been talked about as well.(He didnt think that would happen) Now he did say it was close and he wouldnt be surprised to see then at ND but with Arik have 4 years and his brother only having one Arik has to the one who’s happy. He also said Arik might not be an EE now and wait tell summer to go to school. So with that being said you can trash what im telling you or take it for what it worth.

      I want him here and I hope he comes but we will have wait and see

      • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        Info along these lines has appeared on a couple sites now, so this isn’t the only source

        I’d say this is bad for ND as far as Arik’s recruitment goes; no EE or b-ball option now, if true
        And I thought those were two of ND’s advantages?

        whitneykblaine Whitney Blaine

        Armond Armstead will be returning to SC this semester and Arik will announce on signing day.

        Link: Whitney Blaine’s Twitter profile (She is hot!!!)

    • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      More still:

      Doesn’t sound good for ND, IMHO

      • don74 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM


        I don’t have any idea how this will turn out. The younger one says he will make a decision signing day and the older one will transfer in the fall. Based on results to date I am not counting out Kelly and crew. If he is “gettable” Kelly will get ’em.

      • Michael Steinberger - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:36 PM

        Thanks for all the legwork on this, Nude.

        This recruiting drama reminds me of when the wife had our kids, and we were waiting for her water to break to make the mad dash to the hospital. How the coaches manage to endure the uncertainty with twenty-plus scholarships up for grabs is beyond me…

  2. trbowman - Jan 18, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Evan Sharpley is a badass.


  3. dmacirish - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    great story, wonderful article. kind of think that the timing of it being written could be considered coincidental or extremely poetic – student athletes that come to notre dame are student athletes. previous two articles have 100+ posts excited to see a good high school football player moving onto their next phase of life to compete in the sport while attending an excellent university. this article might get 20 posts and few of them will show the same excitement towards this young man transitioning from his college life to his real world life while leaving the limelight of notre dame football behind.
    not sure if you guys read this but just in case you might – here is to you Sean. hope the last few years of your life were great and the next many are even better. there are many, including myself, who are envious of the opportunity that you had to play football at the university and of the opportunities which now lie in your future due to the hardwork and effort put forth towards your education. may the road rise to meet you and the wind be ever at your back.
    go irish

    • dmacirish - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      glad to see all the thumbs up, thank you all for agreeing. there is more posts on here then i had thought there would be – 44 at this time – however thanks mainly in part to nudeman and dickasman there are 28 comments out of the 44 that have no relevance to the article that Keith wrote. stay classy you two, stay classy.

  4. smurphdoggy29 - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    God Speed Sean and Thanks for your effort and dedication !
    Thanks to you another shining example of what Notre Dame is truly all about !
    Thank you !

    Let Sean Cwynar be an example (along with a plethora of others) to the incoming folks, try to emulate him and you will be successful !

    GO Irish !

    • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Thanks Smurphydoggy! No problem man, anytime…The honor has been all mine.

  5. don74 - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    great story. he seems like a fine young man, best of luck. it’s interesting he has perspective that we fans often miss….it’s a game that’s PART of his life.

    • oldestguard - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      goodpoint….I always knew Cwynar was tough, I now know how wise he is as well.

      Great success to you Sean in the next PART of your life.

  6. joeschu - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:56 AM


  7. tony34343434 - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    great article, great definition of a student-athlete, wish him the best and shows why Notre Dame is so special it is a true University not minor league football school like some.

  8. gtizzo - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    He will be back…when he is CEO of a major company. We will see him after half on TV when they talk about the great things ND is doing all over the world. Sean Cwynar could be one of those people!! I wish him all the success in world.

  9. 9lirish - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Now this is a real feel good story us old-timers love

    and great comments too!! I am getting so sick of NUDE, DICAKS, GOATBITCH, UAW ruining a great place to come and discuss our beloved ND and their continuing march to reclaiming the ever elusive lost glory

    Can anyone else hear that thunder being shaken from the sky?

    Onward (and upward) to victory!!!

    • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Im in tears 9lirish, you hurt my feelings just so you know…..
      Would you know my nameeeeee
      If I saw you in heaven or hell?
      Would you feel the same
      If I saw you in heaven or hell?
      I must be strong and carry on
      ‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

      Anyways, this makes me wonder if Taylor Decker is re-thinking his commitment to Ohio State because I know he really liked Notre Dame. I don’t care what kind of relationship you have with a recruiter, I mean who goes from Notre Dame to Ohio State? Who follows recruiters around from school to school? Well unless Ohio State has equivalent/better program that he is majoring in…

      • mcirish27 - Jan 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        Perkins apparently goes from ND to Ohio State too

      • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        OUCH, really? Mother……

    • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      If you don’t agree with me that’s your right.
      But it’s not “ruining a great place”; and if you think it is, then don’t log on. There are other ND sites.

      Dickasman’s stuff is very edgey, but frequently makes me laugh out loud and he’s a legit Irish fan.

      As for goat/UAW (Same person btw, with 2 log ons) I see no value there.
      Has no new info, no decent opinions and his stuff doesn’t exactly pass the test for clever

      • 9lirish - Jan 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM


        as you know I try to be a voice of reason and wisdom on this board – but i also call it as I see it

        I have no patience nor respect for an individual that tells 17 and 18 year old kids to go *expletive* off because they decide to go elsewhere

        did you always know 100% what you wanted to do in life in high school? These kids are under enormous pressure from all angles – cut them some slack

        now lets get back to simply routing for OUR Lady

        and UAW’s posts tend to be clever, albeit off color and not additivie to the overall discussion


      • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        1) Relax on the F Bomb thing. You seem sanctimonious by making a big deal out of it.
        You probably don’t mean it that way, but let it go

        2) This is A SPORTS BOARD, not a prayer meeting. Tebow isn’t running this
        It’s like sitting down, having a couple cold ones
        You might say “F you” or “F him” or whatever while watching a game, but you don’t mean it literally
        And there is ZERO actual malice.

        3) I use the F Bomb about once out of every 30 posts
        The other 29 posts I try to be thoughtful, add my opinion or some new info
        And I don’t EVER direct an F Bomb at an ND player or coach.
        The numerous times I’ve criticized Rees, I’ve frequently gone out of my way to say he seems like a good guy, tries hard, and was put in a tough situation. What the hell else do you want?

        4) Decker left ND in what I thought was a cheesy way; I said “F Decker”
        My way of saying “you’re gone and we’re done with you”. No more/no less

        Seriously, can we move on?

        5) goat is an idiot and has nothing but negativity; he and UAW are the same person
        Get on his ass for the stupid Nude/Pube posts that add zero value to any discussion
        His thumbs down ratings are usually about 30-1 vs. thumbs up

      • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        awwww…..Thanks babe! Group Hugs Guys, XOXOXO!!! Let’s kiss and make up and agree to disagree.

        Anyways, how about losing Perkins?(I am tearing up for real this time!)

      • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        9irish, with all due respek(Ali G), I think you’re giving these kids wayyyy too much undue, unnecessary sorrow? Recruiting is stressful I concur, no doubt but it is much less stressful than trying to figure out how I can pay for tuition for local “in state” college that costs $12,000/year because my parents make $25,000/year and I missed the cut for the state “grant”. I feel sorry for kids of these parents who deserve to go to college but yet can’t because they can’t get the grant or student loans to cover the expenses because we place higher value on “athletics” over “education”.

        We are all guilty of it I assure you but you need to stop feeling sorry for the recruits especially today. Also, many of them get “paid” while in school whether be by boosters or working fake jobs where they don’t even show up.

      • dickasman - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM


        speaking of “telling it like it is”. read this link. I was referring to stuff like this and I get called a “racist”. So I’d love to have the pleasure of YOU telling it like it is.

    • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      Wait a minute….hey mc, I just realized that losing David Perkins was yesterday’s news….I was thinking of Deontay Greenberry….CMONNNNN MANNNN! Don’t get me started here.

      He decommitted to ND while ago

  10. seanb20124 - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    He will regret it one day is my bet. They always do .

    • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      Yeah, its easier to see when they get to about age 30 and only jobs they can find are selling used Kia somewhere in Bilixi, Mississippi. They can’t even go work for Groupon cold calling because they only hire kids straight outta college.

  11. irish2011 - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Good luck Sean!…… Any updates on the Armsteads?

  12. runners00 - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Sean — we will miss you. But I am sure you’re going to have an amazingly successful business career and we wish you well.

    With respect to the Armsteads, I suspect that Arik’s not going to Notre Dame as an early enrollee. I mean I could be wrong, for sure, but it just seems like a pretty long time to sort of “decide.” He’s going to wait until signing day and then enroll in the summer. Now, he still may wind up at Notre Dame, but he’s obviously trying his best to figure out which school is best for him.

    I have said this very often in my lifetime but if you have a chance to go to Notre Dame, you go. Period. It’s an amazing school — an academic powerhouse — and you’ll learn a tremendous amount and when you graduate — which you will do even if you play football — you’ll have options. You may go play on Sundays. But, more likely, you will have a full time job doing something that you love. To get there, of course, there will be real work. I mean there’s no hiding at a school of 8,500 undergrads. But you learn. A lot. About a lot.

    And why anyone would pass that up is beyond me.

    • dickasman - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Hey runner, one thing I want to chime in with is that I completely agree with you but some of these kids are afraid of Notre Dame’s education. I know this personally because I was one of them(4.0 GPA ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I know it first hand. I have family members that graduted from there and also a member who transferred out because it was too difficult. I can’t only imagine how hard it would be for kids to go from hood to ND. That’s why I am always shocked at ND’s graduation rates.

      I remember watching ND football on CBS and ABC and they used to always show their “major”. Our family used to laugh out loud whenever we say “sociology” as their major. It’ was a “code”. I am sure our family wasn’t the only one.

      • runners00 - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        I think you’re right that some kids may be reluctant to pursue such a rigorous academic schedule. I mean, if you could go to Michigan and take basic math, why would you go to Notre Dame if you had to take Calculus?

        But if you’re a parent — these kids all have parents — it would seem natural to encourage your kid to learn as much as possible between 18 and 22 because he can get out of college and actually do something that captivates his interest and generates income. Then when he’s 28, he’s not living with you (and let’s own up to one fact: most of these kids — even five-star athletes — won’t play on Sunday). Perhaps these parents are just not in that world — they’re the Seantrell Henderson types, who only want their kid to use college to get to the NFL — but I have to think that most appreciate the academics and understand that to get paid to play, you have to be amazing and you have to be lucky to avoid injuries and get noticed.

        As for Sociology (or Geology or any other degree): ND’s got a real core curriculum that’s challenging so sosh majors still have to deal with Calculus. . . .

    • nudeman - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      The Armstead thing is just flat out impossible to decipher.

      I STILL think they might betoying wth ND, but I think the older kid and the Dad made a good faith trip to South Bend and liked what they saw and heard.

      I’d say the older kid wants ND and Arik wants Auburn. But Arik also would prefer to be an EE and that window of oppty is closed at Auburn for that. So he’s down to these choices:

      1) EE at ND (like ASAP) with brother (assuming med clearance) and I guess also play b-ball right away.
      2) Skip EE, enroll in summer probably at Auburn, and drop the idea of playing with brother.

      Might be a hell of a debate inside the Armstead household going on.
      I still say less than 50/50 he comes to ND.
      Just feels that way.

      • runners00 - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM

        Looks like he announced today that he’s announcing on 2/1 (good guess on my part). . . .

  13. larrynamesauthor - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    If he wants to continue playing football in his free time, there are hundreds of semi-pro teams that would love to have him. He made an adult decision, and this will set well with all the potential employers waiting for him to come calling. Good luck with the rest of your life, Sean.

  14. gtizzo - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    While my last post was very nice and got a few thumbs up this one…not so much. This is totally a RUMOR I have zero facts to back this up (disclaimer done). I think the Irish may have cooled there jets on Yuri Wright. Some people think he isn’t Brain Kelly’s RKG, has some issues with his attitude. People rip CW all the time for his record at ND but his only problem child was Michael Floyd. Brain Kelly has to be very careful, a problem at Notre Dame doesn’t land on the back page of some newspaper. Normally it leads Sport Center so all the haters at ESPN can bash ND (Sorry personal feels getting the way of my post). Any way I was doing security at the Magic game tonight and ran into an ND fan who told me “Brain Kelly won’t win just one title he going to win 4”. ND fans are very upbeat people so lets stay positive!

    • nudeman - Jan 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM


      This kid has “issues”, let’s just say
      If you ever wondered how Latrell Sprewell would have fit in at ND, this is your guy

      Supposedly Michigan stopped recruiting him because of this

      On another note, lose the “Brain” Kelly thing.
      A tired angle.

      • dickasman - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        dam it nudeman, you beat me to the link

      • dickasman - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        I thought Don Bosco’s suppose to be a good school? Didn’t we have couple players from there already? Their coaches allow tweets like this? Unreal.

        I love posting that link on here because its reality. Gives what I say more credence about university gang signs, etc…This was no news to me, I already knew about all this stuff but hope ND faithfuls can get to see first hand what most of these players are like. Even the “Sean Cwynar’s” of the recruiting world say dumb stuff like this but the smart ones don’t say it on twitter or facebook.

    • dickasman - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      ND’s done with him. So is Michigan. By reading his tweets, I predict he’ll end up at LSU, Florida, Florida State, Miami or Georgia.

      • nudeman - Jan 19, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        There are 3 categories of “dumb” as I see it

        1) Just saying something not very smart during the course of the day.
        Like “I sure wish they’d bring back the VW Rabbit”; or maybe “I trust Newt has our best interests in mind”.
        Those are both dumb things, I think we’d all agree.

        2) Saying something that is REALLY dumb AND offensive like “I sure wish we’d go back to the days of the Jim Crowe laws” . As I said “really dumb”. But since it’s verbal and comes after 7 shots of Grey Goose, it can always be denied or you can say “it was taken out of context”. A lie, but you can try.


        At least I think that’s what it’s called.

        Anyway I wouldn’t blame them if they tell him “no thanks” based on this. Disgusting

      • runners00 - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        College football is filled with kids like this. That said, I have a very hard time believing that someone is going to pick this kid up. He’s just . . . I mean, what do you say? There are so many things wrong with what he is saying. And I don’t want a kid like this. No. He may be fast. He may be flashy. But he’s not going to make it through Notre Dame — or through any school that requires you to do more than show up and play football.

        Notre Dame is different, but Alabama’s got a very strong academic record under Saban. Nebraska has had a very strong academic record for a long time — under Osborne and under other coaches. There are a few other schools like these, too. But LSU, Miami, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Southern Cal — they have a lot of kids who don’t graduate, who don’t go to class, who get in trouble with the cops, etc. And they’re almost running “successful” programs. Perhaps one will want Wright. I don’t.

      • runners00 - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM


        1 more thing: I really enjoy your 3 categories of dumb (i.e. “I sure wish they’d bring back the VW Rabbit!”). Almost fell over. Long day. Thanks.

  15. norcalirish - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Lol runners00, I was SO pissed I had to have calc for my completely non-math related major at ND….but I got it done. Extremely valuable life lesson.

    My best to Cwynar. Cheers.

  16. 1historian - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Change subject

    In the picture accompanying this story Cwynar and Smith are wearing what looks like a practice jersey. IMHO these shirts are worth buying. Anyone out there know where they can be found?

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