N.D. QB Clausen goes out to eat, gets punched in face

Photo by Darron Cummings

Photo by Darron Cummings

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen was sporting a black eye behind the tinted visor he wore to practice Tuesday.

According to a university official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter, Clausen was punched outside a South Bend bar early Sunday morning.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Clausen was the "victim of a sucker punch." He made the comments during a taping of his radio show for WLS Radio 890 in Chicago, which normally airs on Saturday.

"He was not engaged in a fight. He didn't throw any punches. He didn't directly engage the individual," Swarbrick said. "He just got coldcocked by somebody, and we're very disturbed by that."

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday evening for Swarbrick on his cell phone.

Clausen was at C.J.'s Pub about 2 a.m. with his family and girlfriend after Notre Dame's double overtime loss to Connecticut, according to the official.

The group decided to leave after words were exchanged with others at the bar, the official said. As they were leaving, Clausen's girlfriend realized she left her purse behind. Clausen went back to retrieve the purse and someone followed him outside and punched him, the official said. Clausen did not fight back and left, the official said.

South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent says police were called to the scene after receiving a report of a fight. He says police arrived within minutes and everyone was gone.

Coach Charlie Weis declined to talk about the dustup at his news conference Tuesday other than to say Clausen would practice would this week and start Saturday against Stanford (7-4). Clausen was not available to comment to the media on Tuesday and his usual Wednesday news conference along with other Notre Dame captains was canceled.

Weis called off all interviews for players and assistant coaches this week.

A message seeking comment was left on the cell phone of Clausen's father, Jim Sr., by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Weis poked fun at Clausen during practice on Tuesday, saying his new nickname was "Darth Vader."

Weis announced in August that he would allow Notre Dame players to wear visors for the first time. He said at the time that they could only wear clear visors because he didn't think dark visors would look right at Notre Dame because he didn't want players to have "Darth Vader visors."

"I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame," he said.