United States Sevens wing Carlin Isles was signed to a practice squad receiver contract by the NFL's Detroit Lions.
The Lions, eliminated from American football play-off contention last Sunday, have been known for unusual moves in trying to land talent, bringing in a German player last year and Norwegian kicker Havard Rugland earlier this year after seeing him on a YouTube video.
Isles, dubbed the fastest man in rugby, underwent a try-out session for the Lions on Monday that included running the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds.
A spot opened for Isles after the Lions promoted tight end Matt Veldman from the practice squad to the active roster to replace injured Brandon Pettigrew ahead of Detroit's season-ending game Sunday at Minnesota.
Isles, whose Ohio hometown of Massillon is a famed US high school gridiron hotbed and near the American Football Hall of Fame, was a sprint star and American football player in college before switching to rugby.
The 24-year-old plays for the Gentlemen of Aspen club team and has 11 caps for the US Sevens squad.
Other NFL clubs have turned outside the usual US collegiate feeder system for talent this year.
Kenyan-born Daniel Adongo has played two games at linebacker this season for the playoff-bound Indianapolis Colts after playing for South Africa's Southern Kings in Super Rugby.
And the San Francisco 49ers have signed England's Lawrence Okoye, an Olympic shot put finalist in London, as a defensive end. He is on injured reserve for the playoff-bound club after a pre-season injury.