ASHBURN, Va. -- New Washington tight end Sammis Reyes is set up to wear No. 80 for the burgundy and gold this year, a number that could eventually change but for now ... here you go.
Reyes, 25, who grew up as a basketball player in Chile before dedicating himself to football, is a raw but talented athlete who will now have the opportunity to learn from Washington tight ends coach Pete Hoener.
The WFT signed the former Tulane basketball player via the NFL's International Player Pathway Program (IPP).
“What was interesting was, it turned out that (team exec Marty Hurney) was actually in Florida, and that’s where the International Player Pathway Program was," coach Ron Rivera explained last week. "Then when we all got together ... we all talked about it. We said: ‘Look, for a skillset, for an athlete—and to be quite honest—the one name that popped in my head right away was Jimmy Graham.
"You think about the great player he’s become and been in this league, and you start to think if this guy can grow and develop. He came to the United States when he was 14, so he understands the seriousness of athletics. He’s played internationally. He’s got the background and makeup that I think you feel good about. Then when you watch his workout tape and you meet him in person then you watch him workout, you feel good about giving the young man an opportunity. That’s what we’ve created.''
Hoener has helped develop Logan Thomas from a very raw tight end into a more than serviceable pass-catcher, as well as coaching several productive tight ends such as Greg Olsen, Chris Manhertz, Vernon Davis, and Delanie Walker.
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As an old-school tactician, the Washington assistant is hard on his players, last year in but he's produced results.
Washington would not have been able to sign him at that point because they and the NFC East were part of the NFL-sponsored program last year, which resulted in David Bada staying in the organization.
This move, even if it doesn't work out, is exactly the type of out-of-the-box thinking that Washington needs. In the event Reyes doesn't catch on, it costs the team very little. And If does, there is a chance they could have the next Antonio Gates (or Jimmy Graham) at their disposal.
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Reyes joins a group that is very suspect outside of Thomas with Temmarick Hemmingway and Tyrone Swoopes still in the mix. Thaddeus Moss was released and Jeremy Sprinkle signed with the Cowboys.
And with that kind of competition, Reyes will not just have a chance to make the roster out of training camp, but potentially make his mark on the 2021 NFL season. That is, at the least, worth the pursuit - and worth a new jersey number.