Patrick Mahomes reveals coaching future in advice to Chiefs teammate, rugby star

Former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit has received coaching from quarterback Patrick Mahomes after joining the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
2024 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7
2024 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7 / Luke Hales/GettyImages

NFL dynasties have to be built around a few pillars that hold up the structure. For the Kansas City Chiefs, those mainstays have been head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, and defensive tackle Chris Jones. The keystone players are necessary, but they aren't enough to win a Super Bowl championship in the free agency and salary cap era. To find consistent success, the rotating supporting cast has to be rebuilt constantly.

In 2023, the Chiefs aerial attack suffered from deficiencies in pass protection and at the wide receiver position. General manager Brett Veach addressed both of those issues in the offseason. Kansas City signed wide receiver Marquise Brown, then selected Texas' wide receiver Xavier Worthy and BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Kansas City was subjected to the last pick of each round in the 2024 NFL Draft — a consequence of their success. The Chiefs had to expand their horizons beyond the game of football to find talent.

The Chiefs signed former rugby union star Louis Rees-Zammit, a Welsh rugby player who entered the NFL through the international player pathway in March. As he looks to translate his skills as a rugby wing to American football, the 23-year-old has sought the advice of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit sees Patrick Mahomes as a coach

Rees-Zammit was learning the running back position in rookie minicamp last week, but he also attended an informal workout camp with Mahomes in Texas. According to Rees-Zammit, Mahomes has been like an extra coach in assisting him with the transition.

"All the quarterbacks and receivers were there," Rees-Zammit said of Mahomes' camp. "We were running routes. We were working in the gym, working on different movements with [Mahomes’ trainer] Bobby [Stroupe]."

Mahomes' availability as a teammate and mentor has been encouraging to Rees-Zammit, who has been busy diving deep into the Chiefs playbook. Rees-Zammit likened three-time Super Bowl champion to an extra coach, adding that he wants to "pick everyone's brains" and "try to pick up the sport as quickly as possible."

"It was a great two weeks," Rees-Zammit added. "I learned a lot with Pat and all the other boys. I’m new to the game so I’m trying to pick everyone’s brains and try to pick up the sport as quick as possible because I want to be out there playing. So the way I can do that is by picking the brains of everyone that’s currently here and trying to learn the game as quick as possible."

At the NFL's international player pathway Pro Day in March, Rees-Zammit measured in at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds to go along with a 9-foot-7 broad jump and 29-inch vertical jump.

Rees-Zammit, who scored 14 tries in 32 Tests for Wales, feels his current role will help ease his transition from rugby union.

“I’ve been put in the running back group to start with," Rees-Zammit explained. "I think there’s going to be a versatile role for me, I’m hoping. The coaches are very creative here, so see what they can do. ... Being in the running back position, it’s easier because I can get the ball earlier as opposed to being out playing wide receiver."

Although rugby has its similarities to football, the transition will still be a difficult one. Rees-Zammit will have to adapt to the pads, the helmet, and even the ball, which is pointier and smaller than a rugby ball. Rees-Zammit pointed to the differences in catching as another adjustment. Beyond that, he will have to learn the fundamentals — stances, routes, and formations will all take a while to master.

"You catch laterally in rugby, you don’t catch forwards," he said. "That’s been a bit different."

The Chiefs have listed Rees-Zammit as a running back, but the former wing still believes he could develop into a wide receiver in the future. If that's the case, developing chemistry with Mahomes is going to be paramount.

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