It was announced on Tuesday that one of rugby union's brightest stars, Louis Rees-Zammit, has decided to retire from rugby, pursue a career in the NFL and join the league's international playing path.
The announcement came minutes before Wales announced their squad for the upcoming Six Nations. Normally, Rees-Zammit would have been a key member. However, just before Warren Gatland announced his team, Rees-Zammit announced on his own Instagram account that he was stepping away from the sport to pursue his NFL dreams.
Rees-Zammit, 22, is rugby's biggest star trying to make it to the NFL through this route and will be heading to Florida at the weekend to join the program.
“Gloucester Rugby is a huge part of my life,” Rees-Zammit said on Instagram. “From my start at Hartpury College, to my first professional rugby contract with Gloucester in 2020, to my Wales and Lions caps, the club has been central to my development as a player and I am very grateful for their support. I am.
“I have always been proud of my time at Kingsholm and would like to especially thank our amazing fans who make the club so special. I would also like to thank my team-mates. [coach] George Skivington and [CEO] Thank you, Alex Brown, for giving me special memories and supporting the next stage of my career.
“I had the incredible honor of playing rugby for my country, but as a proud Welshman I never took it for granted. But now is the time for me. I believe this is the right time to realize another professional goal of playing American football.'' Opportunities like this don't come along very often. ”
Rees-Zammit, who played on the wing and at full-back, won 31 Test caps and scored 14 tries for Wales and was part of the British & Irish Lions' tour of South Africa in 2021, becoming the youngest player to win the tournament. Selected as a member. He was one of the most lethal wingers in the Gallagher Premiership with Gloucester, but his contract expired at the end of the season and the club agreed to release him early, ending his time there. Ta.
Several other rugby players have also attempted to break into the NFL. Christian Wade, Alex Gray and Christian Scot-Williamson have all tried it. The path to becoming an NFL international player began in 2017, with success stories like Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata (Australia) and Las Vegas Raiders fullback Jakob Johnson (Germany) making their way onto NFL rosters. Connected.
While the news will come as a blow to Gloucester, the club congratulated Rees-Zammit on achieving his dream of playing in the NFL.
“We understand the magnitude of the opportunity in front of Zam and his lifelong ambition to play in the NFL,” Gloucester CEO Brown said. “We're obviously sad to see him go, but at the end of the day, we can't deter him from getting such a big opportunity in the NFL.
“We are extremely proud of the role Gloucester Rugby played in developing him into a world-class player and wish him all the best in America. We will always welcome him at Kingsholm. .”