Louis Rees-Zammit leaves coaches stunned as Chiefs' expectations smashed

-Credit: (Image: Chiefs on Instagram)
-Credit: (Image: Chiefs on Instagram)

Former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit has taken a significant step towards earning himself a starting role with the Kansas City Chiefs next season.

The former Wales star has exceeded the expectations of coaches at the defending Superbowl champions, with the elite skills honed on the rugby field set to stand him good stead in light of new regulations.

The NFL is set to introduce changes to the kick-off rules where the kicking team have a standing start in an attempt to improve player safety. The move was first trialled in the XFL, with data suggesting kickers are involved in up to 40 per cent of tackles.

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After arriving as a free agent following his participation in the NFL International Player Pathway Program, Rees-Zammit is now making a positive impression on the Chiefs coaching staff as they look to adjust their plans in accordance with the new rules.

Chiefs assistant head coach Dave Toub told reporters on Thursday that Rees-Zammit is on track to be a starting kick returner adding: "He’s done above and beyond what I’ve expected. He wants to be great and he’s a great athlete."

Toub's comments represent a huge boost to Rees-Zammit's bid to earn a place on the Chiefs' 53-man roster. His hope is to one day establish himself as a receiver or running back. Pre-season cuts are completed in late August.

"It's all about me learning the playbook and learning the game because without that I can't do anything else," Rees-Zammit said recently.

"I'm fully focused on, '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 live by the playbook and then we'll go from there."