Carlin Isles signs a contract with Glasgow Warriors rugby union team
The American made his name playing in the HSBC Sevens World Series
Isles previously signed a practice contract with NFL franchise the Detroit Lions
The former track athlete made his sevens debut in 2012
The “fastest man in rugby” is to remain in the sport after resisting overtures from a major National Football League (NFL) team to sign for British team Glasgow Warriors.
Carlin Isles built his reputation playing for the U.S. in the HSBC Sevens World Series, where his searing pace helped him score 27 tries in 14 tournaments.
The former track athlete caught the attention of NFL franchise the Detroit Lions, who signed Isles to a practice contract in December.
But Isles has opted to commit his future to rugby, moving from sevens into the 15-a-side version of the sport with the Warriors – who play in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 competition with teams from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy.
“I can’t wait to fly over to Glasgow and join up with my new teammates,” the 24-year-old, who only started playing sevens for the U.S. in 2012, told the Sevens World Series website
“Everything has happened so quickly for me over the last couple of years and I’m just happy to be playing rugby and getting the opportunity to play at the highest level.”
Isles hasn’t ruled out representing the U.S. sevens team, known as “The Eagles”, in future tournaments, but for now he is focused solely on playing for Glasgow.
The Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend, a veteran of 82 Test matches with Scotland’s rugby union team, is excited by the potential of Isles – who clocked a time of 4.22 seconds for the 40-yard dash while training with the Lions.
“This is a major coup for the club and a very exciting prospect,” said Townsend.
“Carlin is an exceptionally gifted athlete, who has picked up the game of rugby in a very short period of time and has had a huge impact on the sevens circuit over the last couple of years.”
Isles’ conversations with Townsend proved key to the American’s decision in making the switch from sevens into the 15-a-side form of the sport.
“It’s very exciting to be moving to the 15-a-side game,” he added. “It’s a lot different to sevens but I want to work hard and do everything I can to succeed.
“I’ve been in contact with Gregor (Townsend) a few times and knowing he really wants me and sees something in me means a lot and was a big factor in deciding to join the club.”
The Detroit Lions was not immediately available for comment.