Rees-Zammit 'picking brain' of Mahomes at Chiefs camp

Louis Rees-ZammitImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Louis Rees-Zammit shocked rugby union when he announced in January that he would pursue a dream to play in American football's NFL

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Louis Rees-Zammit has praised the advice of quarterback Patrick Mahomes as he continues his transition from rugby union to American football with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wales rugby international Rees-Zammit was signed by the Super Bowl champions in March after going through the international player pathway (IPP).

The 23-year-old has been learning the role of running back at the Chiefs' rookie minicamp in the last week, having previously attended a camp with Mahomes in Texas.

"It was amazing, all the quarterbacks and receivers were there, we were running routes, we were working in the gym," said Rees-Zammit.

"It was definitely a great two weeks, I definitely learned a lot with Pat and the other boys.”

Rees-Zammit likened three-time Super Bowl champion Mahomes to an extra coach, adding: “100%. I’m new to the game so I’m trying to pick everyone’s brains and try and pick up the sport as quick as possible because I want to be out there playing.

"The way I can do that is picking the brains of everyone that’s currently here and trying to learn the game as quickly as possible.”

Rees-Zammit said the latest three-day camp with the full Chiefs roster had meant a chance to "dive deep into the playbook".

"It’s been a good week overall and definitely helped doing rookie minicamp, getting reps, because the way I learn is actually doing the reps,” he said.

The Chiefs have listed Rees-Zammit as a running back, but the four-cap British and Irish Lions wing still believes he could feature as a receiver in the future.

“I’ve been put in the running back group to start with," he explained.

"I think there’s going to be a versatile role for me, I’m hoping. The coaches are very creative here, so see what they can do. But it’s all about me learning the playbook and learning the game because without that I can’t do anything else.

"I am fully focused on the now. You know, I’ve got to make the team. How am I going to do that? I’ve got to perform on the field, I’ve got to learn the playbook and then we’ll go from there.”

The ex-Gloucester wing, who scored 14 tries in 32 Tests for Wales, feels his current role will help ease his transition from rugby union.

“Being in the running back position it’s easier because I can get the ball earlier as opposed to being out playing wide receiver," he added.

"It’s obviously different and catching - you catch laterally in rugby, you don’t catch forwards. That’s been a bit different.

"I’m just loving being able to work and work on all these crafts because the more I can do, the more I can try and help the team.”

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid have led Kansas City Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl victories

Rees-Zammit - who has a three-year contract with the Chiefs - is competing to earn a place on the final 53-man active roster for the 2024 season, which begins in September.

For Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, the rookie minicamp was his first opportunity to do some hands-on training with the Welshman - and he was pleased with both Rees-Zammit's skills and appetite to learn.

“This was good for him, this camp, for that reason that he got a lot of reps," said Reid.

"When the guys are here, he’s rotating with those guys. He didn’t get a tonne 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 and I’ve appreciated that and you could see the progress he’s made.”

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