Lions sign rugby speedster to practice squad


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — In their never-ending search for players, the Detroit Lions made a curious signing Thursday morning.

Carlin Isles, a member of the United States rugby sevens team, signed as a wide receiver on the Lions’ practice squad after trying out with the team earlier this week.

Isles ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds during his workout with the team this week, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“You’re looking for athletes,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “It hasn’t been unusual to see basketball players transition to the NFL, and it’s not just recently; that goes way back.

“Even track guys like Bob Hayes and Renaldo Nehemiah — things like that. An athlete’s an athlete, and there are skills you can develop, and if you see something that you like, then you can work with him.”

Isles played football and ran track at Ashland University, a Division II school, before moving to rugby.

Dubbed by RugbyMag.com as “the fastest man in American rugby,” Isles became a YouTube sensation playing rugby because of his speed.

The practice squad spot opened up when Detroit sent tight end Dorin Dickerson to injured reserve and promoted practice squad tight end Matt Veldman to the 53-man roster.

Dickerson hid a concussion from the Lions after being hit in the second half of Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants. He was eventually diagnosed with a concussion in overtime.

  • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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