Louis Rees-Zammit Makes the Leap to American Football: A Rugby Star’s Journey to the NFL

By the editorial staff

Published 3 hours ago, Updated 1 hour ago

Travis Kelce and his girlfriend Taylor Swift after the Kansas Chiefs’ victory in the last Super Bowl. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP

At the age of 23, the Welsh phenomenon left rugby, and the English club Gloucester, to launch into American football.

Young Welsh rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit (23) announced in mid-January that he was leaving rugby union to try to make a career in American football in the United States. The former Gloucester Premiership player had “accepted an invitation to join the NFL International Player Pathway (IPP)”, a gateway allowing high-level athletes to join the prestigious North American league. Louis Rees-Zammit was of interest to several teams, but he ultimately signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, who recently won the Super Bowl. He will have to fight to ingest the list of 53 players selected for next season.

In a podcast that he hosts with his brother, Chiefs star Travis Kelce spoke about the former rugby player’s arrival in the NFL. If he recognizes that “LRZ” is a “intelligent player”, he also warned about his first months in the powerful North American league. “It will be a humbling experience at first, he believes. It’s not easy to make this jump, they are two completely different sports. He’s an athlete and that’s what the Chiefs saw. He’s a smart kid, a smart player. So he could possibly take a few attacks.”

And the “tight end” of the Chiefs (hybrid player who must both block opponents and receive passes from the quarterback), who is the companion of Taylor Swift, added: “It’s going to be a tough few months for him here while he gets acclimated to the NFL. We’ve been doing this since we were kids, so we’re going to have these little instincts that we’ve built up over the years. (…) I really appreciate his energy so far. He’s super excited about the opportunity he’s been given, knowing not everyone gets these opportunities.” And to conclude: “He was an absolute rugby star in Europe. So for him to take the plunge and move from Wales to Kansas City is a pretty courageous and bold move.”

2024-04-18 16:20:12
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