Former Canyon del Oro High School standout Robert Metz is returning to play football in the Old Pueblo after signing with the Tucson Sugar Skulls. Metz, who graduated from the Oro Valley high school in 2012, will play linebacker.
The Sugar Skulls inaugural season in the Indoor Football League begins March 3.
Standing 6 feet 4 inches and weighing in at 245-pounds, Metz is an imposing defender who played collegiate football at Dixie State University in Utah, finishing his four-year career with 217 tackles, the second-most in school history.
Metz called returning home to play professional football a dream come true, allowing his friends and family to watch him play for the first time in years.
“It’s a great feeling to play in my hometown. It feels like everything has come full circle,” Metz said. “A lot of my family and friends haven’t been able to see me play since high school, so it’s going to be great to do my thing in front of everyone.”
Metz’s high school coach, Dustin Peace, said he’s thrilled for his former pupil, who still works as a volunteer assistant for the Dorados’ football team during the offseason.
“It’s amazing how resilient he has been in his pursuit to his dream of playing professionally,” Peace said. “We could all learn something from how much he is sacrificing to keep his dream alive.”
Metz comes to Tucson after spending the 2018 season with the IFL’s Green Bay Blizzard, finishing with 59 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 13 games.
First-year Sugar Skulls coach Marcus Coleman said signing the CDO alum was an easy decision given his host of on-field skills.
“What I saw in him was the ability to make plays,” Coleman said. “He’s athletic, intelligent, and shows up every week. He played multiple positions in Green Bay, which speaks to his football IQ. As an opponent, you have to factor him in when game planning. That’s why I signed him.”
Peace said the inclusion of Metz on the Sugar Skulls can serve as a model for future Southern Arizonans that want to pursue professional football.
“It is really amazing for Metz, CDO and the Tucson community in general to have one of our own helping to get the franchise off the ground here in our hometown,” Peace said.
Metz said he’s thrilled to be a part of the debut and is counting the days until he can run out of the tunnel to a packed crowd inside the Tucson Arena.
“We’ve been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to set the tone for the Sugar Skulls for years to come,” he said. “There’s going to be pressure to win from the get-go. If we can do that then it’ll be a team remembered for a long time in Tucson.”