Chiefs sign Welsh rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit, who quit his sport for the NFL

As the Kansas City Chiefs aim to win a third straight Super Bowl next season, they are looking beyond football’s borders for some extra offensive help.

The Chiefs are reportedly signing Louis Rees-Zammit, a 23-year-old former rugby star in Wales who stunned fans back home when he announced in January that he was quitting the sport in order to join the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. 

[Related: ‘The real deal’: Why this rugby star’s NFL dream is so shocking]

Rees-Zammit, who played winger on the Welsh national rugby team, profiles as an offensive skill position player in the NFL, with the Chiefs likely giving him looks at running back, wide receiver and on special teams, per ESPN. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash time at the IPP’s pro day in Florida last week, shortly after getting a 10-week crash course in the intricacies of NFL football.

Ress-Zammit told reporters at his pro day that his father once played American football and brought him up loving the NFL, where his favorite player was star Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson. Like Jackson once did, Rees-Zammit will now have a chance to show off his speed in the innovative offense of former Eagles and current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

The IPP program, which was founded in 2017, has produced 37 signees with teams and 18 players currently on NFL rosters. The crown jewel of the group is another former rugby star — Australian Jordan Mailata, who is now the Eagles’ starting left tackle and considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.

But Rees-Zammit is uniquely poised to make a splash in the NFL for a few reasons, as explained by FOX sports‘ Martin Rogers in the wake of the player’s announcement in January.

“Where Rees-Zammit stands out is because of his age. At 22, he has arguably not yet entered his prime in rugby, yet he is already regarded as one of the most dynamic players in the world,” Rogers wrote. “Also it’s because of his standing — those seeking an NFL chance don’t typically walk away from existing stardom in their own game.”

Rees-Zammit and those who watched him play rugby think his biggest chance for success will come as a kick returner, particularly with the NFL’s new kickoff rules. He could also get some looks at wide receiver. The Chiefs were notoriously thin there last year, though rookie Rashee Rice emerged later in the season and the team signed Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in free agency.

But there’s always room for a receiver who can run like Desean Jackson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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