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Carlin Isles, fastest player in international rugby, quits to join Detroit Lions

Isles hopes his 4.22 40-yard dash is enough to make the roster as a WR.

Matt Roberts

Carlin Isles, the Olympic hopeful and second-year rugby player, scored three electrifying tries in this weekend's IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Las Vegas. Hs play helped the United States team take home the Shield consolation trophy in front of their home crowd in a 31-0 drubbing of Spain. If you're not familiar with Isles, please stop whatever you are doing and watch this video. You have probably never seen a faster player on any playing field in any sport.

Isles waited until his team's last game to announce that he will be leaving the US squad for the foreseeable future to focus on a career in the NFL as a wide receiver, a position that he played at Ashland University. He also excelled in track and field as a student, running a 10.13 second 100-meter dash. Isles announced his intentions to NBC Sports after the tournament:

"I probably have played my last rugby game. I just felt like God opened up that door … It's a good opportunity either way and I feel I can work hard and be successful at (football). It's a tough decision right now, but it's still a great decision to have."

He is so fast and talented that even the Detroit Lions scouts noticed him and signed him to their practice squad in Week 17. Listed at only 5'8 and 160 pounds, Isles was able to impress the Lions enough during his one-week stay that they signed him to a futures contract on January 10, and he hopes to make the 53-man roster this year as a WR/KR.

It's hard to overstate the speed at which Isles has picked up the game of sevens rugby, an exhausting game that features two seven-man teams playing on a full-sized field for two seven-minute halves. Isles impressed from the second that he stepped on the pitch.

He's not just a one-trick pony though. Isles has shown the toughness and tenacity necessary to excel defensively against the best competition in the world. Here he is on Friday stripping the ball away from Argentina and then simply outrunning everyone else for 75 meters:

If he's able to transition back into football as quickly as he transitioned into rugby, the Lions may have just found themselves a deep threat to complement Calvin Johnson. If not, Isles would certainly be welcomed back by the US national team, who hope to defend their Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016.

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