Dzubnar Skated Into Football Career

David Boclair

Two-sport stars are nothing new to the Tennessee Titans.

There is just no telling what the other sport might be.

In 2012, they drafted a pair of elite high school wrestlers in defensive lineman Mike Martin and linebacker Zach Brown. A year earlier they chose defensive lineman Karl Klug, who also had wrestling in his background.

Wide receiver A.J. Brown was already a professional baseball player when the Titans used a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on him. And former quarterback Marcus Mariota was a state qualifier in the long jump during his high school days in Hawaii.

Now comes Nick Dzubnar, who spent as much time on ice rinks as he did football fields when he was growing up in Southern California. The Titans formally announced Thursday that they signed the special teams standout to a one-year contract. The deal had been reported earlier in the week.

“Hockey was definitely my first love, my first sport,” Dzubnar said in a video interview last season with L.A. Chargers staff members. “It’s a tougher sport, especially out here in California, to get involved in. You have to really go somewhere when you’re young … and pursue it.

“… I did hit everyone. But it’s not like I didn’t have puck skills.”

In the NFL, the overwhelming majority of his collisions have come in the kicking game.

A 6-foot-1, 240-pound linebacker, he has been credited with 61 career special teams tackles in 65 games over five seasons, all with the Chargers. He finished first or second on the team in that category each of the past four years, including a career-high 21 in 2017.

Dzubnar broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was the second all-time leading tackler in program history.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be joining this awesome Titans organization,” he said in a video posted to his Twitter page. “… I can’t wait to get out to Nashville, call it my new home and just compete every day.”