Kansas City Chiefs coach impressed by Louis Rees-Zammit as Welshman looks finished with rugby

The former Wales star has taken part in his first training camp after signing for the Chiefs

Legendary NFL coach Andy Reid has been left impressed by Louis Rees-Zammit’s progress in his first Kansas City Chiefs camp, with the Welshman seemingly taking to his new sport with ease.

The former Wales wing was part of the Chiefs’ three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend, with fans getting their first glimpses of him in red, gold and white. Kitted out with a helmet and pads, Rees-Zammit was seen running routes and catching punts alongside his fellow rookies as he got to grips with the Chiefs’ extensive playbook.

After signing a three-year deal with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the 23-year-old faces a long summer of training as he looks to complete his stunning transition from rugby to American football and make it on to the Chiefs’ 53-man active roster ahead of the new season.

Rees-Zammit addressed the media for the first time as a Chiefs player

Rees-Zammit has continued to defy the odds since quitting rugby on the eve of the Six Nations, seemingly taking every challenge in his stride as he emerged as a standout talent on the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) programme and attracted interest from more than 12 franchises.

Having moved to America permanently last month and trained with superstar Patrick Mahomes in Texas, the former Gloucester Rugby man is now focused on making it onto the roster. And while he still understandably has gaps in his game, coach Reid has been left mightily impressed by what he has seen from Rees-Zammit so far.

“This camp was good for him for that reason,” he told reporters after the mini-camp concluded on Monday “He got a lot of reps. When the guys are here, he’s rotating with those guys. He didn’t get a ton of reps there, but this gave him an opportunity to really jump in and learn.

“He’s so diligent with everything and wants to be so good at everything,” Reid added. “I’ve appreciated that, and you could see the progress he’s made.”

Rees-Zammit also addressed the media for the first time as a Chiefs player following the mini-camp and said the experience had “definitely helped” his game as he learned more of the playbook, which he admitted was “completely different” to rugby.

“It’s been a pretty good week,” he said. “It was great to meet all the boys, great to dive deep into the playbook. … It definitely helped doing rookie minicamp, getting reps. The way I learn is actually doing the reps, so it was a great three days.

“[American football] is completely different [to rugby],” he added. “Rugby is very free-flowing unless you get a set piece. That’s when you call a play. So there’s probably 20 to 30 plays a game, whereas here you’re talking hundreds. So it’s been interesting to learn a playbook.”

However, while he is still getting to grips with his new sport, Rees-Zammit hinted that he may never return to rugby, as he admitted he had “achieved everything he wanted” with Wales and Gloucester.

“My dad was a big NFL fan growing up and he wanted to play the sport,” he said when asked why he switched from rugby to American football. “He played American football back in the UK, it wasn’t an option to come out here and play but growing up as a kid I’ve always watched it.

“My dad is a massive mentor for me and a role model so it was just about when I was going to do it. I achieved everything I wanted to in rugby, so I thought now was the perfect time.”

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