'The Fastest Man in American Rugby' Carlin Isles Signs with Detroit Lions

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Carlin Isles of San Francisco races away with the ball in the match against Gloucester during the World Club 7's at Twickenham Stadium on August 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

Rugby speedster Carlin Isles will be getting a chance to show what he can do on the field—the professional football field.

The Detroit Lions are out of the playoff picture, but they are still looking for players who can help them in the future. According to The Detroit News' Chris McCosky, the Lions have signed Isles to their practice squad.

Isles was named "The Fastest Man in American Rugby" by RugbyMag.com's Pat Clifton.

How fast is he? Isles ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds during his tryout with Detroit, via McCosky. Now he will be taking his talents to the football field.

The 5'8", 166-pound speedster was profiled by Grantland back in July, via the Grantland Channel:

Isles is from Massillon, Ohio, and he played football and ran track at Ashland University. However, it has been quite some time since he has played football, according to McCosky.

"I hadn’t worked on my football skills in about four or five years,” he said. “But I was catching punts with one hand and they had me doing those circle drills and I was catching the ball. I thought I’d be a lot worse."

As for those wondering if he will be able to play in the physical NFL because of his small size, Isles isn't worried.

“You see rugby?” he told McCosky. “I can take the pounding for football without a doubt. I am tough and tenacious – the pounding will be no problem.”

Isles had tryouts lined up with the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants in the coming weeks as well, but the Lions decided to sign him before any there team could take a look.

Speed is a valuable asset for any team in the NFL, and Isles clearly has the quickness to make an impact, particularly on special teams. If he can adjust to life in the NFL, we could see Isles running with pads on in the near future.


Hat tip to Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm for the find.