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Louis Rees-Zammit flys Welsh flag at NFL Draft event

LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT proudly represented Wales in Detroit, Michigan, whilst his International Player Pathway teammates were drafted by NFL franchises.

A record-breaking 775,000 spectators attended the dazzling NFL Draft event over the weekend, with millions more tuning in from home. Travis Clayton and Bayron Matos, fellow IPP athletes, were selected by teams. The event drew more than 12 million viewers on its first day alone.

Rees-Zammit, along with Charlie Smyth and Patrick Murtagh, had already secured contracts with NFL franchises but flew to Detroit to support their Class of ’24 colleagues during the draft.

On stage amidst the spirited crowds, Rees-Zammit proudly displayed the Welsh flag, with his friends by his side, beaming. The 23-year-old donned sunglasses with the flag draped over his shoulders, as captured in images posted by James Cook, head of the IPP programme, on Instagram following Clayton’s selection.

Clayton, previously a rugby player for Basingstoke RFC in Hampshire’s County Two Division last year, sealed a deal with the Buffalo Bills, while Matos signed as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins. Murtagh, a former Aussie rules player, inked a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Irishman Charlie Smyth, a kicker, joined the New Orleans Saints.

These IPP athletes spent ten weeks together in the programme, which commenced in January. Immersed in daily American football training and education, they formed a close bond, dedicating long hours to pursuing their dream.

Their journey culminated in the NFL Pro Day, where teams evaluated the athletes in various tests. Rees-Zammit attracted interest from multiple teams and eventually signed with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.