This week the Washington Football Team signed Tight End Sammis Reyes: a first-generation Chilean Immigrant and former power-forward for Tulane University. Not only did Reyes not play football in college, but he hasn’t played a snap in his life. While this seems questionable, there are three reasons why Reyes could be a diamond in the rough for Washington.
While scouts came from across the country to see Kyle Pitts at the University of Florida’s Pro Day, Sammis Reyes was the tight end who stole the show when it came to athleticism. At 6″6′ 260 pounds, Reyes showed off an impressive 40 inch vertical leap, 31 reps of the 225 lb bench press, and a 4.65 40 yard dash—making him one of the most athletic tight ends to ever enter the league at his impressive size. While athleticism doesn’t directly translate to on field production, Reyes has the physical capability to catch balls 116 inches in the air, run past most linebacker, run over defensive backs, and be a nightmare mismatch for all defenders.
2. The Precedent of the Basketball to Tight End Transition
Reyes won’t be the first tight end to transition from primarily a basketball player to a tight end. All time greats Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham were all D1 basketball players who chose football as their primary focus and went on to flourish. While hopes can’t be set too high for a player who never played football to any capacity, these all time greats have proven that the transition can work; and with Reyes’ athleticism, why not him?
Sammis Reyes came to the United States alone at the age of 14. When he didn’t make the NBA and couldn’t give basketball lessons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he delivered for GrubHub for 8 hours a day while keeping his body and mind mentally prepared for his next opportunity. In his introductory press conference with the team, he confidently declared that he won’t be outworked by anyone. If Reyes makes Washington’s 53-man roster this season, he will become the first Chilean to ever make an NFL roster. He knows the significance of this and wants to set an example for Chileans and immigrants across the world of what they can accomplish.
If Reyes’ impressive athleticism and work ethic can to translate to a solid foundation of football skills, he could turn into a special and beloved player in Washington.