When Sammis Reyes was born in Chile in 1995, playing in the NFL was almost unthinkable. He left his home country and his family to come to the United States when he was 14 not knowing any English.
Reyes not only learned the language, but also got a degree from Tulane while playing on its basketball team. He drove for DoorDash to make extra money when the pandemic hit, and now with the 2021 NFL season on the horizon, Reyes is putting up a strong fight for a roster spot on the Washington Football Team.
WFT signed Reyes in April making the tight end the first-ever Chilean born athlete to suit up in the NFL. When discussing his journey to the big leagues with media on Sunday, Reyes’ voice broke a bit. The magnitude of what he’s trying to accomplish isn’t lost on him.
“I get emotional because there’s never been another guy from Chile in the NFL,” Reyes said. “Where we come from, we don’t get too many opportunities. And now we have a lot of guys, we have a lot of kids who look up to me and send me messages every single day. I’ve been able to represent my country on this stage — It means the world to me.”
His incredible journey aside, Reyes has been proving his worth on the gridiron as the Burgundy and Gold roll through the preseason. Per Pro Football Focus, he has the fourth-highest run blocking grade among all tight ends thus far. It’s not hard to believe given plays like this (watch No. 80 in white):
Reyes, 25, is trying to be one of Logan Thomas’ primary backups as Washington gears up for the regular season. Thomas himself has said he wants to be a mentor for the younger guys as they get find their footing in the league. Reyes is ready for any challenge the pros will throw at him.
“You’ve got to bring it out every single play,” Reyes said. “You’re not going to win every time you bring that energy and that physicality. But you’ve got to bring it every single play because the guy on the other team wants to crush you, right? So it’s either you or him. And in my mind, it’s going to be me every time.”