Chiefs’ Louis Rees-Zammit On 2024 Role

When former Gloucester Rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit signed with the Chiefs late last month, it was reported that he would be utilized in a running back/wide receiver hybrid role as well as in the return game. As the player himself recently noted, he will primarily be deployed as a return specialist.

Rees-Zammit, 23, entered the NFL via the league’s International Player Pathway program and also drew interest from the Jets, Browns, and Broncos. He indicated that he chose Kansas City over his other suitors because of the clarity of the vision that the Chiefs’ coaching staff has for him, which includes a focus on return duties.

“Yeah, so the plan we’ve got is, obviously, the new kickoff rules this year are absolutely massive,” Rees-Zammit said (via Charles Goldman of “That’s where my main position is going to be. So I’ve got to fight to be a starter in that positon this year.”

Of course, the new kickoff rules that Rees-Zammit references are those that were recently approved by league owners and that are laid out by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington here. The special teams coordinators who crafted the changes are hoping for a kickoff return rate of at least 80% in 2024 after just 21.7% of kickoffs were returned in 2023. The modifications have already had an impact on roster decisions; we recently learned that the Steelers initiated contract talks with All-Pro returner Cordarrelle Patterson when talks on the new rules were gaining steam, and the Ravens’ recent acquisition of Deonte Harty was motivated at least in part by Harty’s return abilities.

The Chiefs returned just 12 total kickoffs in 2023, nine of which were handled by Richie James, who is presently a free agent. James also led Kansas City with 20 punt returns, and it is certainly possible that, if Rees-Zammit makes the club, he will be tasked with punt return work as well.

The Welshman did indicate that he would not be limited to the third phase of American football, and that he would have a role in KC’s offense. He certainly possesses the athletic traits to do so, having posted a 4.43-second 40-yard dash time, 9’7″ broad jump, and 29″ vertical jump during his pro day.

Ultimately, though, his chances of cracking the roster and his contributions will depend on how quickly he picks up the game.

“And then it’s within the offense, it’s about how quick I can learn the playbook,” he said. “Because, you know, we’ve got a plan to put me in various positions, play out the backfield at running back, be a slot receiver, just being able to use me as much as possible and be creative with me. So it’s all about me learning the playbook and getting the chemistry with all the players on offense to be able to use me.”

View Comments (1)