Sammis Reyes exited high school with dreams of playing in the NBA. Now he hopes to be the latest former Division I basketball player to make it as an NFL tight end with the Washington Football Team. He would also become the first Chilean-born player to make a 53-man roster.
Washington signed Reyes, who had been training at IMG Academy in Florida as part of the International Pathway Program, on Tuesday. Participants in this program get assigned to a random division, and those teams could then pick one player from a pool of 11 athletes.
But after Reyes worked out at the University of Florida's pro day on March 31, Washington decided to sign him so no one else would have a shot.
At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Reyes has the size necessary to play tight end. He ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash while bench-pressing 225 pounds 31 times at the pro day. But he has never played in a game, despite coaches telling him when he was younger that he should try the sport.
However, Reyes told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that his childhood dream was to play in the NBA. His family moved to Florida from Chile when he was 14.
Before his senior year at North Broward Prep High School, he practiced with the football team for one week before quitting, telling the Sun Sentinel that he knew he had 20-plus offers to play basketball.
He played two seasons at Tulane, appearing in 32 games and averaging 0.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Before that, he played one season at Palm Beach State Junior College. Reyes, 25, last played at Tulane in 2018.
Reyes has been working out in Virginia with trainer Justin Cavanaugh. His agent, Tabetha Plummer, said multiple teams wanted to sign Reyes but that Washington was one of the first to pursue him. Plummer and Reyes liked how other tight ends have developed under head coach Ron Rivera and tight ends coach Pete Hoener, both in Carolina and Washington including Greg Olsen and Logan Thomas.
If he makes the roster, he'd join players such as Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, Mo Alie-Cox and Darren Fells as former Division I college basketball players who played tight end in the NFL. Graham did play one season of college football at Miami as a graduate student.
Washington has been looking for more tight end help this offseason to pair with Thomas. He converted to tight end from quarterback. Washington also has Marcus Baugh, Dylan Cantrell and Tyrone Swoopes at the position. It will consider drafting a tight end later this month.