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Dye proves it takes all kinds

Posted Nov 19, 2013

Tony Dye is living proof an NFL roster is culled from all over.

Tony Dye is living proof an NFL roster is culled from all over.

How about a guy from Cali growing up as a hockey kid in between San Diego and Los Angeles?

"Forward. Any of the forward positions but wing mostly … enforcer. I was an enforcer … I was big for a hockey player," Dye said, still in the glow of Monday's NFL debut. "My grandfather (got me started). I started at an early age, five or six. That was it. No soccer, no anything, just hockey the whole way. It’s still the No. 1 sport in my mind. If the Dallas Stars called right now … ."

It was the Bengals who called on Dye from the practice squad Saturday, although they gave him a heads-up earlier in the week. Even though he scored a touchdown on a 24-yard return of a blocked punt, Dye doesn't know if he'll be active or even on the roster at safety when the Bengals head to his home for the Dec. 1 game against the Chargers.

Until then, he can wonder about this journey. Dye didn't start playing football until he was a junior in high school and ended up being heavily recruited, a process that came down to UCLA.

"It came down to UCLA and Oregon. I’ll never regret my decision. Never. There was a chance to play immediately at UCLA. I started as a nickel as a freshman, so it worked out," Dye said, and USC wasn't an option. "They came in late. I just wasn’t a USC fan. Never was, never will be."

But he is a fan of former Dallas Stars great Mike Modano, his favorite player. Hockey never happened for Dye, though.

"It’s kind of an underground thing in California; not much ice out there," Dye said. "Money. I had to make the decision of either go to prep school in Minnesota or try football. I guess it worked out."

Dye did have a memorable moment. He figures he was 14 when he was in a junior world tournament and his USA team lost to a bigger Czech Republic team in the finals in Quebec.

"We needed to see the Czech’s birth certificates. They were all 17, I swear to God," Dye said of The Mighty Ducks comparison. "It was exactly like that, the Iceland team."

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