PLAYER PROFILE

Keith Lyle Tackles Tennis

KIETH LYLE TACKLES TENNIS
Keith Lyle played professional football from 1994-2002. As a defensive safety, he led the NFL with interceptions for many of those years, and in 2000 he helped the St. Louis Rams win the Super Bowl.

Nearly 15 years have passed since those days on the field, and Lyle has since settled down in Largo, Florida, with a wife and two kids. Married life appears to be agreeing with the 43-year-old, who is happy and fit as ever. He works out every day, runs, eats healthy, never touches alcohol, and weighs within a couple of pounds as he did while he played in the NFL – 210 pounds.

To feed his football “fix” he coaches local youth and high school football and even wrote a book on the subject, The Insiders Playbook: Coaching Youth Football with Pro Fundamentals.

But when it comes to fulfilling his thrill for competition, he turns to tennis – exclusively singles.

“I try to play tennis as much as possible. My life is busy these days with work and family, but I still find time to hit several times a month. And when I can, I compete in Ultimate Tennis, a flex league,” says Lyle, who is a member of Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club.

Lyle played tennis as a child, so getting back into the game as an adult was easy.

“My earliest memories of tennis came in the eighties watching the US Open with my dad and being mesmerized by John McEnroe,” says Lyle. “There was something about this outspoken, brash, competitive menace that caught my attention.”

KIETH LYLE TACKLES TENNIS

Shortly thereafter, Lyle picked up a racquet and began to play. After just one year of hitting, the 12 year old caught the attention of a tennis instructor.

“He told my dad that both my [twin] brother and I had the ability to get college scholarships to Division I schools.”

But Lyle never gave tennis serious consideration. He played different sports throughout the year and mainly focused on football. 

 “Had I been introduced to tennis before football, who knows, when push came to shove maybe I might’ve chosen tennis,” says Lyle, adding that he believes he could have competed professionally.

“I think I could have made it to the elite levels in tennis. The way I see it, if I could go out on Sunday and cover Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, I could have used that same athleticism and determination to survive on the ATP tour…But I have no regrets.”