Will the Vancouver Stealth's Tyler Digby Be the Next 2-Sport Pro Athlete?

Jim Flannery@@calgaryjimboAnalyst IJanuary 24, 2014

Tyler Digby has had a great start to his pro lacrosse career.
Tyler Digby has had a great start to his pro lacrosse career.Photo: Derek Stevens, via stealthlax.com

Tyler Digby was drafted twice in 2013.

In May, the tight end for Robert Morris University was selected in the fourth round of the CFL draft, 36th overall, by the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks. Then in September, the righty attackman for the Colonial's lacrosse team was selected in the third round of the NLL draft, 20th overall, by the Vancouver Stealth.

While Digby still has a few months before training camp begins for Ottawa, he made the Stealth's opening day roster and has performed admirably in his rookie season. In four games to date, the 6'3" forward has eight goals and five assists, placing him second on the team in goals scored and in a tie for third in total points with 13.

In fact, so good has Digby's rookie campaign been that ilindoor.com lists him as the No. 1 member of this year's rookie class so far. 

In 2013 with the Robert Morris football team, he caught 17 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns in eight games.

One problem though: As noted by Andrew Bucholtz via Yahoo Sports, he plays a position that doesn't really exist in the CFL. Says Bucholtz, "he doesn't have a clear position at the next level; most of his experience is as a tight end, which isn't often used in CFL offensive sets these days."

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That doesn't rule Digby out entirely, however. As Bucholtz goes on to note:

He's a 6'3'', 250-pound guy with obvious athletic ability, and he could perhaps play multiple roles on offence, potentially lining up as a fullback, a tight end or a slot receiver. Just because tight ends aren't often used doesn't mean the position can't be effective, either; Montreal's found great success in the last couple of years rotating Patrick Lavoie through a variety of fullback, H-back and tight end looks, and Digby's a guy who could perhaps fit that mould. Thus, the Redblacks would obviously love to be able to get at least a look at him in training camp.

Things could get complicated if he attends Ottawa's training camp and makes the roster. Many professional teams don't like their players putting themselves at risk with potentially damaging activities—the possibility that the RedBlacks would ask Digby to stop playing lacrosse is a distinct reality as a result.

But they might not have the financial clout to make such a contract stipulation stick. According to Global News, the minimum salary in the CFL was $43,000 per year in 2011 and the average salary for non-quarterbacks is $80,000. With wages that modest, part-time jobs away from the football field are fairly common.

Lacrosse in the NLL could easily fall into that part-time category. According to ilindoor.com, rookies earn a meagre $9,200 per year and top players can only receive up to $34,000—if they are designated as franchise players.

For the moment, Digby is continuing to make waves on the lacrosse carpet and could find himself quickly achieving star status in the NLL. But if he accepts an invite to Ottawa's CFL camp, he could make things very interesting on a number of fronts.

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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