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"I believed it was the perfect moment": Louis Rees-Zammit enthusiastic about his pursuit of the NFL.
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“I believed it was the perfect moment”: Louis Rees-Zammit enthusiastic about his pursuit of the NFL.

Louis Rees-Zammit expressed that his aspiration to play American football is still achievable as he joins the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) after leaving rugby union. The talented wing, who represents Gloucester, Wales, and the British and Irish Lions, surprised the rugby community when he announced his departure last month in pursuit of signing with an NFL team by 2024.

Rees-Zammit has joined the NFL’s intensive 10-week IPP programme in Florida, where he has been training as a wide receiver while also doing some running back drills.

During an interview with BBC Wales’ Scrum V programme, 23-year-old Rees-Zammit mentioned the transferable skills he gained from playing rugby. He expressed his passion for training and his determination to pursue a career in the NFL. Despite the initial challenge of adjusting to the differences in the sport, he is adapting and looking forward to the next 10 weeks. Getting used to the limited vision from the sides of the helmet has been a challenge, but Rees-Zammit is confident and ready to see what unfolds.

According to Rees-Zammit, the IPP has welcomed 10 international players, and a pro day will take place after the programme to assess their potential for making it to the NFL.

He explained that the commitment to football is all-encompassing, including work on the field, in the classroom, and during six days of training each week. After a grueling 10-week training period, the ultimate goal is to turn a dream into reality. For him, the difficult decision to leave rugby was driven by a long-held desire to pursue football, and he felt the timing was right. If things go according to plan, he has 10 years to dedicate to the sport he has always admired from a young age. Alternatively, he can always return to the sport he has a passion for playing, rugby.

In the absence of Rees-Zammit, Wales has suffered defeats in their first two Six Nations matches, narrowly losing to Scotland (27-26) and England (16-14).

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Rees-Zammit expressed feelings of envy towards the boys playing in the game, regretting his own absence. He commented on Wales’ loss at Twickenham on Saturday, acknowledging the team’s effort despite falling short. Rees-Zammit also mentioned how supportive Warren Gatland, head coach of Wales, was when he informed him of his decision. When asked about potential alternative plans if his pursuit of American Football didn’t work out, Rees-Zammit stated his intention to return to playing rugby.

Source: theguardian.com