Plan for Louis Rees-Zammit’s NFL transition revealed by Kansas City Chiefs boss

David Skippers
Louis Rees-Zammit and Andy Reid Kansas City Chiefs.jpg

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and new recruit Louis Rees-Zammit.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has revealed what his plans are to convert former Wales and Gloucester flyer Louis Rees-Zammit from a rugby union star to an American football one.

Rees-Zammit joined the Chiefs on a three-year deal ahead of the 2024/25 campaign after impressing scouts with his performance at the NFL International Player Pathway trials in Florida last month.

Due to the 23-year-old’s skill-set, running back and wide receiver were the designated NFL positions mentioned for him to take up as an NFL player.

Earlier this week, Reid, who guided the Chiefs to back-to-back Superbowl victories in 2023 and 2024, fielded questions about Rees-Zammit’s adaptation to his new sports code at a Zoom press conference.

The 66-year-old spoke about Rees-Zammit’s new position and said the Welshman was not a total stranger to American football.

Introduced to the game at a young age

“Yeah, so he was introduced to this when he was young when his dad played for six years in the European league,” Reid explained. “He’s somewhat familiar with the sport and has had success in rugby.

“And there are some similarities there as a contact sport, and he’s had the ball and does those things and runs with the ball.

“We’ll start him off at the running back position and get him to feel comfortable with that. Going forward here, he’s had an opportunity to also go down there to Dallas and work with Pat (Patrick Mahomes), and so again, he’ll get used to some of these calls through our Zooms and the plays, and then we’ll just see where it goes from there.”

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Apart from Rees-Zammit’s offensive position, Reid was questioned about the special teams side of the gridiron game, which would appear to be where he would feels more comfortable.

He explained that the transition would not be easy and said that Dave Toub, who is the Chiefs’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, would be working with Rees-Zammit on that aspect of the game.

“Potentially, they’re all out there working on returns. So before and during practice, we’ll just see what his feel is and where that goes,” added Reid.

“Dave will have an opportunity to have him on special teams and see where that goes.

“That’s not an easy transition, but he seems to have been wired to playing competitive rugby professionally since he was 17. He’s sitting there 23; he’s had a pretty good career, with that kind of understanding of the professional game and the mindset to play at the professional level.”

The NFL are set to introduce a change in its kick-off formation from next season which has led to more interest in rugby players fielding those kicks because of the similar alignments.

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Could be fielding kick returns

Reid revealed that their is a strong possibility that Rees-Zammit could be filling that role.

“Potentially, they’re all out there working on returns,” said Reid, who has left that decision to Toub. “So before and during practice, we’ll just see what his feel is and where that goes.”

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