ASHBURN, Va. -- Tight end Sammis Reyes made the Washington Football Team's initial 53-man roster, making him the first Chilean-born NFL player.
Washington signed Reyes in April after he participated in Florida's pro day. By signing, Reyes was removed from the International Pathway Program. Washington gave him a three-year deal with a $392,600 signing bonus.
Washington has Logan Thomas and rookie John Bates also at tight end. But the coaches consider Reyes arguably their best blocker. He's still raw in the passing game, but Washington did not want to risk losing him and always viewed him as someone with long-term potential.
"He's improved dramatically from when he first got here," Washington general manager Martin Mayhew said. "He has every tool you want as an athlete; it's just getting him to translate it into playing this game, and he did a lot of really promising things in the games he played that gave us an indication he's on the right track. He's a very valuable guy to develop for the future."
"He fits us. He has the right mentality, the right attitude. He's one of the hardest-working guys on the team. You see that kind of physical talent and ability and you see the work ethic along with that and you know that's something you can build with."
Reyes' path was made difficult by the fact that he had played organized football for only one week before joining Washington. As a high school junior in Florida, he practiced with his football team for a week before deciding to stick only to basketball.
He came to the United States at age 14, without his parents, to play high school basketball in Florida. After changing schools twice, he said he received offers from 25 Division I schools for basketball. Reyes has said often that his ultimate dream was to play in the NBA. He played collegiately at Tulane for two years and Loyola of New Orleans for one.
In January 2020, Reyes decided he wanted to try football and began working out with trainers in northern Virginia.
Washington also kept undrafted free-agent running back Jaret Patterson, who tied an NCAA record at the University of Buffalo by rushing for eight touchdowns in a game. Washington already has released two of its five backs: veteran Peyton Barber and Jonathan Williams. Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic remain on the roster alongside Patterson.