Who Is Louis Rees-Zammit? Get To Know the Former Rugby Star Reportedly Signing With the Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign former Wales rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit on Friday to play running back and wide receiver.

Welsh rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit has agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs and will sign his deal on Friday. The 23-year-old will play running back and/or receiver in the NFL. What is Rees-Zammit’s background?

Kansas City Chiefs To Sign Former Rugby Star

On Wednesday evening, Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report reported that Rees-Zammit will be joining the Kansas City Chiefs.

In January, Rees-Zammit joined the NFL’s International Player Pathway program (IPP), which gives promising athletes American football training.

“I have had the incredible honor of playing rugby for my country which, as a proud Welshman, I’ve never taken for granted,” he said in a statement. “However, I believe that this is the right time for me to realize another professional goal of playing American football in the US. Those opportunities don’t come around very often.”

Rees-Zammit participated in the IPP Pro Day last week, running a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash, with a 9’7″ broad jump and a 29″ vertical jump.

“I’m pretty happy with how I ran my routes, just about how fluid I could be, how I could show off my change of direction, how I can get in and out of breaks,” he said. “I think there are a lot of transferable skills. In rugby, you’re always trying to get your hands on the ball as much as often and you’re always trying to break defenses, look for spaces, be aware.

“Catching kickoffs, catch and kick receipts, punt receipts, there’s a lot of transferable skills, and I think running back shows up probably best, getting the ball in my hand early, being able to pick a gap, being able to be aware of the surroundings.”

His announcement to join the IPP program came around two weeks before his Wales team started its Six Nations campaign against Scotland, where he would have been a key figure.

The NFL’s IPP has led to several success stories, most notably Philadelphia Eagles star left tackle Jordan Mailata, a former Australian rugby player.

Rees-Zammit added on Instagram in January that he wasn’t necessarily retiring from rugby but wanted to “explore a new challenge that has the potential to diversify my skill set.”

The NFL added a 17th spot on the practice squad this year specifically for international players, and teams will be allowed to elevate such players to the active roster up to three times.

“It’s always been on my mind,” Rees-Zammit told reporters on Friday. “My dad has been a massive role model to me because he brought me up loving the sport. He played the sport when he was younger so it’s quite easy to love the game because I’ve been watching it from such a young age. So, it’s always been in the back of my head, but it’s just amazing to finally do it now.”

Rees-Zammit won 31 Test caps for Wales, scoring 14 tries while playing on the wing and at fullback. In 2021, he was part of the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa; he was the youngest selected for that tour since 1959.

The signing comes amid NFL owners voting to overhaul kick-return opportunities and discouraging the anticlimactic touchbacks that have become almost routine. A follow-up from Schultz confirms that the new rule has, in part, driven interest in the rugby player.

He also visited with the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Denver Broncos.

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