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."