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Louis Rees-Zammit receives offers from 3 NFL franchises

By Neil Fissler
Louis Rees-Zammit of Gloucester Rugby looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Big Game 15 match between Harlequins and Gloucester Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on December 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Former Wales superstar Louis Rees-Zammit is the subject of a three-way tug-of-war between American NFL sides offering him in the region of $900,000 a year to sign up for their summer training squads, RugbyPass understands.

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The 23-year-old Rees-Zammit is on a 10-week crash course to prepare to play American football as part of the 2024 International Player Pathway. He received offers before scouts from all 32 NFL franchises watched him in action at an NFL Pro Day on Wednesday afternoon.

He caught the eye at the University of South Florida, clocking an impressive 4.44s in the 40-yard dash before impressing with his neat footwork skills in position drills.

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Rees-Zammit could be picked up to play either as a running back, wide receiver or even a punt or kick returner on special teams when his crash course finishes at the end of the month.

He couldn’t have picked a better time to try and crack America. For the first time, NFL franchises have been given an additional place in their practice squads for players who have come through the IPP.

“I fancied a new challenge, and what better challenge than be in the NFL? I have been training really well for seven or eight weeks now. I think I’m in a good position. I feel good, and I feel smooth. I just want to show everyone what I can do,” Rees-Zammit told CNN before the Pro Day.

“It’s not about the location or money. It’s about the plan for me. I want to be on a team that has a plan. I know and they know that if we go through a good plan, that knows where I am going to go in the future.”

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While his 4.44-second 40-yard dash is not among the top times clocked at this year’s combine, it is faster than the average for either a running back or a wide receiver out of this year’s class.

It is also faster than former rugby union to NFL convert Christian Wade, who clocked a 4.53-second dash in 2019.

Launched in 2017, the IPP seeks to unearth and nurture non-American athletes, offering them a unique opportunity to transition into the NFL.

This initiative has already seen some success, with several participants advancing to practice squads and even active rosters. Rugby league convert Jordan Mailata stands out as the programme’s flag bearer in terms of success.

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There are four rugby union players included in the class of 2024. As well as Rees-Zammit, Harry Mallinder, Darragh Leader and George Smith are all aiming to crack the American code.

Since its inception, 37 international players have signed with NFL teams, be they allocated, drafted or signed as a free agent. Eighteen IPP athletes are currently on the books at NFL franchises.

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Comments

9 Comments
A
Arend 125 days ago

Wouldn’t he have to go through the draft process?

J
Joseph 126 days ago

Enough of this Louis Rees-Zammit admiration society. If we wanted to read about NFL we’d do so on an American site that knows what they’re talking about. It’s not as if the game of rugby was losing icons like Jonah, Richie McCaw or Kolbe. Big loss for Wales, but that’s Wales’ problem.

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