Why Louis Rees-Zammit isn't likely to work out for the Chiefs

Rugby stars trying to make it in the NFL are always splash signings, but rarely do they work out

Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints - Gallagher Premiership Rugby
Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints - Gallagher Premiership Rugby / David Rogers/GettyImages

Earlier this week the Kansas City Chiefs signed Welsh rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit. I'll be honest and say I don't know much about him, other than he's very, very fast.

I also watched some clips of him playing rugby and he looked pretty good (granted I am no rugby expert). As my colleague pointed out, the signing seems to have no downside. Low risk, high reward? I guess so, but the truth is it's just very unlikely to work out.

Here is what Rees-Zammit himself had to say back during the NFL International Pathways Program Pro Day.

"“It’s definitely a narrow chance of success, boys in America play the sport when they are 5 years old, they go through the ranks in high school and college, and they get to know the game from pretty young.”"

It is for this very reason that so few international players, especially Rugby players, have been able to successfully make it in the NFL.

According to NFL.com, only 37 players from the IPP have ever signed a contract with the NFL, and of those, only five have ever made an active roster. As far as rugby is concerned, the most notable convert is Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata.

That's it. I don't need to crunch the numbers to tell you the odds aren't great for Rees-Zammit. I hope it does; he seems like a fun player. But it's just not going to happen.

Early buzz says Rees-Zammit might be used as a returner in the new kickoff format, which might be his only hope of making this team. It reminds me a lot of the player that the San Francisco 49ers signed a few years ago, Jerryd Hayne.

How did that work out? Well, it lasted a mere seven months. Hayne was cut less than one season into his NFL career. The NFL is a harsh place to play, and I fear that if Rees-Zammit does happen to make it past camp and onto the active roster, he just won't last long.

I'm more than happy to eat crow on this though and I hope Rees-Lightning (as he's affectionately known) proves me wrong. But he's in Missouri now, and we are the Show-Me State, so he's just going to have to show me.