Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne attempting jump to NFL

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Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne is leaving his team to chase a dream of playing in the NFL.

According to Dennis Passa of the Associated Press, Hayne announced Wednesday that he was leaving his rugby team, the Parramatta Eels, to chase a professional football career.

Hayne, 26, has twice been voted as the best player in the National Rugby League.

“Today I can officially announce that I will be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American football,” Hayne said. “I’ll be a free agent. It will give me the opportunity to go over there and train and potentially, hopefully, play NFL one day.”

Hayne said he has been thinking about attempting a football career for two years before finally electing to give it a shot.

Several other rugby players have attempted to make the move to football in the past as well with limited success.

Australian Hayden Smith appeared in five games with the New York Jets as a tight end in 2012. He caught one pass for 16 yards.

South African Daniel Adongo was with the Indianapolis Colts this preseason before suffering a biceps injury and landing on injured reserve. American Carlin Isles attempted a jump to football as well with the Detroit Lions before returning to rugby as well.

Hayne hopes to train in the interim with the hopes of making a team next year.

16 responses to “Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne attempting jump to NFL

  1. There was a reddit post comparing this guy in terms of skill and celebrity to Adrian Peterson/Calvin Johnson. Will be interesting to see if he makes it.

  2. For the record; Australia hates soccer and are crazy about Rugby and Aussie Rules Football, two sports which bare uncanny resemblance to NFL.

    Distance would be too much to overcome, but the Aussies would be much more welcoming to the NFL than England ever would be.

  3. Long-time lurker, first-time poster, just wanted to say a few things as someone who’s watched a lot of Jarryd Hayne:

    1) The sport he played was not rugby, it was rugby league. Closely related (though perhaps not as closely as American and Canadian football), but the term “rugby” alone always refers to rugby union.

    2) This guy is on a completely different level to the other converts mentioned in your post – he’s quite genuinely at the top of his sport, and other than winning a title, he doesn’t have anything left to achieve in the game. The real challenge for him won’t be the physical stuff, but the mental side of it.

    3) For those inclined, it’s probably worth checking out a montage of this guy’s highlights on YouTube. Of everyone playing rugby league, I think the two who could make it in the NFL are Hayne and Greg Inglis.

  4. He’s a 107kg(Prob 220-230 pounds) Great long speed and burst check youtube for some highlights very raw but will be able to do everything including kicking , punting and specials teams very rare for NFL players be might be able to develop into a good WR/RB/KR/PR.

  5. There have been some Rugby players in the league before but nobody even close to the caliber of Jarryd Hayne! In his prime too. Looking forward to seeing where he ends up.

  6. He’s a freak athlete (YouTube his highlights). The difference between the other Rugby/Rugby League players that have tried to come across is that they are basically no-name journeymen who don’t have his raw athletic attributes. He is probably one of the select few that can give it a fair crack without growing up around the game. In saying that, he has a mountain to climb, but some of his skillset from League translates to Safety (he played fullback, reacting on D as a last line of defense). Its unlikely he’ll make a roster but would be awesome to see. There has always been interest down here to see if any of our top athletes can translate to the NFL from Rugby or League so will finally be able to settle it. Also, with the NFL getting more and more exposure here, he won’t be the last to try the move out. From everyone down in NZ and Australia, good luck bro, you’re gonna need it. PS: Sorry for the rant. I’m a tad excited about watching him give it a go.

  7. If he has skills a good coaching staff will find ways to use him. Learning the game this late in his young life makes it doubtful he would ever become a star player. I wish him the best.

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