Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit quits rugby to pursue dream of playing in NFL

GLOUCESTER, England (AP) — Wales international Louis Rees-Zammit, one of the world’s most exciting wingers, is quitting rugby to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.

The 22-year-old Rees-Zammit has accepted an invitation to join the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, his English club Gloucester said Tuesday.

A few minutes later, Wales announced its enlarged squad for the upcoming Six Nations and Rees-Zammit wasn’t in it.

British and Irish Lions’ Louis Rees-Zammit during a warm-up rugby match between South Africa’s Sharks and British and Irish Lions, July 2021. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)


“I have had the incredible honor of playing rugby for my country which, as a proud Welshman, I’ve never taken for granted,” Rees-Zammit said.

“However, I believe that this is the right time for me to realize another professional goal of playing American football in the U.S. Those opportunities don’t come around very often.”

Gloucester said Rees-Zammit would be leaving for Florida this week to begin the international player-pathway program.

“Whilst we are naturally sad to see him leave, ultimately we are not able to dissuade him from taking an opportunity of this magnitude with the NFL,” Gloucester chief executive Alex Brown said.

Rees-Zammit made his debut for Wales in 2020, playing in the World Cup last year, and — at the age of 20 — was in the British and Irish Lions squad in 2021 for the tour of South Africa.

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