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Louis Rees-Zammit impresses in Kansas City Chiefs training camp

WELSHMAN Louis Rees-Zammit has caught the attention of legendary NFL coach Andy Reid during his initial training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs, showcasing a promising transition from rugby to American football.

Rees-Zammit, formerly a star in Welsh rugby, participated in the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp over the weekend, donning the team’s distinctive red, gold, and white colours. Equipped with a helmet and pads, he adeptly ran routes and fielded punts alongside fellow rookies, acquainting himself with the Chiefs’ comprehensive playbook.

The 23-year-old, who recently signed a three-year contract with the reigning Super Bowl champions, faces a rigorous summer of training in pursuit of a spot on the Chiefs’ active roster for the upcoming season.

His journey from rugby to American football has been nothing short of remarkable. Rees-Zammit withdrew from rugby just before the Six Nations and swiftly emerged as a standout prospect in the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) programme, attracting interest from over a dozen franchises.

Having relocated to America permanently last month, Rees-Zammit has been honing his skills, training with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Texas. Despite inevitable challenges, Coach Reid has expressed deep admiration for Rees-Zammit’s dedication and progress.

“This camp was pivotal for him,” remarked Reid to reporters following the mini-camp. “He had ample opportunities to learn and integrate with the team. Louis is incredibly diligent and driven towards mastery in every aspect. I’ve been impressed with his growth.”

Reflecting on his experience during the mini-camp, Rees-Zammit acknowledged the differences between American football and rugby, noting the complexity of the playbook in the NFL compared to the more fluid nature of rugby.

While still acclimating to his new sport, Rees-Zammit hinted that a return to rugby might not be on the cards, having achieved his ambitions with Wales and Gloucester. “I fulfilled all my rugby aspirations,” he explained. “Now felt like the right moment to pursue American football, inspired by my father’s passion for the sport.”

The transition for Rees-Zammit from rugby to the NFL continues to captivate observers, with his determination and aptitude earning respect within his new team as he strives to secure a place on the Chiefs’ roster.