Troy Niklas' greatest hits

After the initial shock and reporting wave that surrounded Troy Niklas' departure to the NFL subsided, reality set in.

For Notre Dame, a tight end had been lost to the NFL.

For Irish beat reporters, our favorite interview is gone.

There was plenty of Twitter commentary among us throughout Thursday night, simply because there were few interviews like Niklas. One of my favorite stories that I wrote this season was about his sense of humor, which I was able to understand much better after speaking with his father, Don, as the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

You could hardly bring Troy's name up in front of teammates without a knowing smile flashing across their faces.

With that, we take a moment here to reflect on our favorite Niklas moments, in chronological order:

  • Niklas showing up to an interview before the 2012 season with a mustache, followed by him telling reporters that he "mustache" us a question .... before deciding he'll "shave" it for later.

  • Niklas ripping off his shirt during the pre-Michigan pep rally in 2012, declaring his love of pain.

  • Niklas showing up to several interview sessions this season wearing a T-shirt that said: "Beef: It's what's for breakfast."

  • Niklas replying to a question about practicing a silent snap count during Michigan week by sheepishly saying he had not "heard" of that. He was also asked about the straightforward route he ran during his Week 1 touchdown against Temple, saying that, yes, the route was, in fact, pretty straightforward.

  • Niklas replying to a question during USC week about having intercepted Max Wittek in high school: ""I did ... And ran it for a touchdown ... In front of 30,000 fans, too ... And it was on TV," he continued "... And it was a big rival game ... Oh, oh, oh, and by the way, we did win that game. But what do I know?"

  • Niklas closing an interview with a reporter who had a Spanish accent after the USC game by saying "Yo soy fiesta."

  • Niklas joining a pack of reporters surrounding Cam McDaniel following his helmet-less photo fame, introducing himself as as "Word Press" before asking if McDaniel had any more modeling moves in his arsenal.

  • Then there was Notre Dame's last campus availability before the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, in which Niklas was in rare form. He referred to his roommate as a NARP — a non-athletic regular person — while saying that the term technically shouldn't apply in this case, since his roommate is athletic. He compared the difference between preparing for good and bad teams to us interviewing the president and Barbara Walters. He was asked about a potential Notre Dame switch from adidas, replying that a high school teacher of his was anti-Nike because of its labor practices, though adding that, for all he knows, adidas may very well be doing the same thing. He then took out his cracked cell phone to make some analogy that went over most of our heads, before talking about the uniqueness of the cracks and how they make it "his" phone. He then was asked about his Christmas list, saying he wanted a coffee maker, socks and underwear.

Farewell, Hercules. You will be missed.