Jarryd Hayne: If the NFL had a minor league I’d still be playing

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Rugby star Jarryd Hayne had never played American football when he left his Australian team in 2014 to try to make it in the NFL. Although he made it on the 49ers’ roster last year, he didn’t get a lot of playing time and quit football to go back to rugby this year.

Now Hayne is telling the NFL that if it wants to attract international talent like him, it needs a minor league.

“If there was a second division team where I could get those mental reps of being on the field, 100 per cent I’d go back to the NFL,” Hayne told the New Zealand Herald. “I’m at the end of my career where I really (have) just got to get on the field. I just want to be on the field. I’ve played eight games in two years. If I went back there to the NFL it’d be one of those things where I’d be a second or third string guy helping out but not really getting a lot of game time.”

The NFL tried, with NFL Europe, to have a minor league that would attract international attention. That experiment failed. And the NFL doesn’t really need a minor league because the NCAA does that for the NFL, without the NFL having to pay for it.

But the NFL might some day try some type of developmental league. It could be a way to get international talent like Hayne on the field.

36 responses to “Jarryd Hayne: If the NFL had a minor league I’d still be playing

  1. The solution to this? Get rid of college football and get a true minor league. It has no business on the campus anyway.

    Pay the players of the 60 or so programs that are good enough to make money on a regular basis. Most of the players are not real students anyway.

    Make the rest of the college programs an intramural sport. Like they used to be. No TV contract. No 80k stadiums. Just true amateurs trying to learn to be pros (or just having fun).

  2. The NFL does have a Minor League. It’s called NCAA Football.
    Anyone who doesn’t think so is foolish.

  3. Given how complex pro football is, there isn’t enough time to practice plays and fundamentals. A D league would provide better trained players and yield a more enjoyable fan experience. But it’s probably not economical to have a D League, so we’ll continue with what we’ve got.

  4. They’re not going to create an entire league just for one guy. But this guy didn’t even need a minor league to get to the NFL. He actually got an opportunity and failed. Excuses, excuses, excuses. The guy just wasn’t quite good enough. Some might actually say the 49ers team that he wasn’t good enough to stick with was the equivalent of a minor league team.

  5. nyneal says:
    Jul 28, 2016 7:00 AM

    The NFL does have a Minor League. It’s called NCAA Football.
    Anyone who doesn’t think so is foolish.
    And most are subsidized by tax payers, the NFL = Not Stupid

  6. The NBA has a free farm system too and routinely stashes some of those players in the D league to continue to polish their game. The NFL could make a lot more from a D league in the spring than the NBA does. . .

  7. Until the NCAA is broken up and stops running their sweat shop and the NFL starts and supports a farm-league/ then there will still be no farm-system outside the NCAA

  8. A NFL sponsored developmental league that ran from May – July would make sense. It allows the guys lower on the depth chart more game reps, it gives unsigned guys a chance to show something, and then you could also add the undrafted guys from the draft to the teams. You could even allow lower level assistant coaches that already coach on a NFL team to be the head coach. That way they get experience. May – July is a dead period for the NFL, so essentially you’ll have football all year long and you can show the games on the NFL Network. It’s NFL football, people will watch it.

  9. purplepride11 says:
    Jul 28, 2016 6:23 AM
    He didn’t even make his countries Olympic rugby team….. stop whining


    He tried out for Fiji, but he’s Australian stupid – get your facts straight. He wouldn’t have a chance to make the Australian team, so he tried out for a team tied to his heritage.

    & why isn’t Canada used more as a minor league – different rules, but Canadian players get picked up all the time.

  10. The niners have been and minor league team since they let Jerry and T.O put on different uniforms anyway. Don’t agree? Show me a trophy from this century.

  11. They tried that in Europe and it did not work.

    Now that the lawyers have the NFL by the short hairs and it’s days as a real sport are numbered, fat chance.

  12. Yes, exactly… The CFL functions quite well as a D league for guys that somehow miss the NFL cut. Every year a handful of guys that have the right talent, physical attributes, and remaining youth get picked up on “show me” contracts in the NFL. Most end up back in the CFL within a year or two, but a few of them go on to big things.

    That said, the idea of a spring / summer D league in the states seems like a great idea. More football is always better!

  13. hawkstradamus says:
    Jul 28, 2016 9:01 AM
    The niners have been and minor league team since they let Jerry and T.O put on different uniforms anyway. Don’t agree? Show me a trophy from this century


    So you’re saying the Seahacks were a joke for majority of their existence, got it.

    I guess all of the low ranked teams make 3 consecutive NFCC and a Super Bowl appearance with every new coach.

  14. Im pretty sure even a D-league wouldnt want to waste a roster spot on a guy playing football for the first time in his life at age 27. Those rosters would be stock full of 21-22 year olds. Most RBs are retired by 27 in the NFL.

  15. CFL is the D-League. Hayne was all about hype, and now that he was dumped from the Fijian Olympic Team, floated the idea of playing Rugby for a team (Waratahs) that publicly had to say they had no interest in him, he is fast running out of ways to be in the news.

    It is kind of sad that Hayne gets so much media attention, and a player like Adam Gotsis, Australian selected in the 2nd round who has a genuine shot of being a NFL player gets ignored.

  16. If there was a “D League”, a spot probably wouldn’t be wasted on a 28 year old RB with little football experience. Those spots would be used by 21, 22, 23 year old guys with some upside.

  17. “the NFL doesn’t really need a minor league because the NCAA does that for the NFL, without the NFL having to pay for it.”

    How cushy and convenient for the NFL, AND the NCAA!

    First they use these kids, REMEMBER Marcus Lattimore injury, for billions in profit, and they in turn get a big fat nothing in return. Unionize, or continue being a slave to the NCAA!

  18. They could do it like soccer. The USA could easily support 30 or so new teams in smaller cities (Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Salt Lake, Portland OR, Portland ME, San Antonio, Orlando, Austin, Sacremento, Second LA Team, etc). Top five teams get promoted, bottom five NFL teams are relegated.

  19. Jarryd Hayne is/was a really great rugby league player in Australia. However, he attempted to play NFL far too late and grossly underestimated the games complexity. Natural athleticism and talent is great but players actually have to learn the playbook. Full marks to Jarryd for giving it a shot, he should have come to the US 5 years earlier and progressively learned how to play.

  20. For all you morons saying he “failed” at the NFL and doesn’t have NFL talent, here’s some news for you:

    They guy had never played NFL football and MADE the team and PLAYED in the NFL.

    What have you losers done from your couch?

  21. This guy can’t make up his mind on what he wants to do. He is a rugby league player from Australia who quit his job as a football player in the USA to play rugby union 7s for Fiji.

  22. To the person who said ” He tried out for Fiji, but he’s Australian stupid – get your facts straight. He wouldn’t have a chance to make the Australian team, so he tried out for a team tied to his heritage.”

    Fiji is the better 7s team – just a minor detail.

  23. CFL or Arena give you reps. Worked for these guys: Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Kurt Warner

  24. The NCAA is a farm league, not a minor league. That’s a HUGE difference. After 4-5 years in the NCAA, their eligibility runs out. If the NCAA was an actual minor league, then the players would still be able to play.

    It’s not that hard of a concept to understand.

  25. The NBA has the same exact FREE system in the NCAA yet decided they needed a minor league. Same with MLB.

    So the whole “the NFL has a minor league, it’s the NCAA” line is as boring and ignorant as every time the NFL proposes a safety rule some idiot comes on these boards with “they’ll go to flag football next.”

    No, they shouldn’t start a new minor league just because some guy started gridiron football too late. But there ARE valid reasons to start a minor league:

    1. Develop referees. The D-League has done wonders to train officials, give them more “trigger time” in D-League games before they get thrown to the wolves in the NBA. No new NBA referee goes in without D-League experience anymore.

    2. Develop minority coaches. In a minor league, you can have a more deliberate “Rooney Rule” to make sure minority coaches get a chance to show their talents under NFL rules. Folks, the NFL is a whole different animal from the NCAA, CFL, or any other gridiron league. Rules are different and the athletes are the best. For every Warren Moon that played in the CFL there are multitudes of CFL players who wouldn’t nor shouldn’t get in the NFL at all. A serious NFL minor league would be the best league that is not the NFL and any coach can show what he (or she) has for future job interviews.

    3. Grow the sport in smaller cities. In a proposed “Gridiron Football League,” you would build the game at the grassroots. I propose a 51%+ fan ownership option, with no direct NFL ownership (NO single entity, the NBA tried that with the NBDL, as was Vince McMahon’s XFL, it took away emotional ownership of teams). There are plenty of “AAA” cities who are not quite big enough for the NFL but certainly would be big enough for a “Gridiron Football League.”

    4. Team values. The top AAA baseball clubs can be worth $20-30 million. The NFL minor league teams can be worth at least that much 10 years in. This is how you sell local owners to get involved.

    5. TV. Let’s face it, what is on NFL Network in the summer that’s worth watching?

    6. Scouting. A lot of players just miss getting drafted but may be good enough with one year of seasoning under NFL rules.

    7. Test rule changes in the GFL first.

    I would suggest the NFL take an entirely different approach than their failed “World League.” Pick 20 cities and tell them the first twelve to get serious ownership groups, can have teams. A new GFL should have the 501(c)6 tax designation that the NFL just left, it makes more sense in a minor league. Fans buys shares into the team like with the Green Bay Packers. The more you pay in the better the value for you. The shares are non-dividend, but you get either 10 years, lifetime, or eternal season ticket based on your investment. The fans are the ones who have to get their local sports commissions to move to support the team. Only serious sports managers can run the teams, not semipro football guy, not indoor football guy, not these clowns who have these startup leagues and don’t pay bills.

    You play late February-July, 12 games, only in southern-half cities or cities with dome stadiums. Players would be from I-AA schools and non-drafted or early cut I-A players. They get a maximum of three years in the league, can be red-shirted for only one year due to injury. No team affiliations. Ever. You’d have to have 32 teams for that and nobody is going to buy a team jointly affiliated with the Bears and Packers.

    Have the “GFL Gridiron Bowl” in Canton the Sunday before the Hall of Fame Game to kickoff Hall of Fame week.

    It can work, but it has to feel, and frankly be, a joint effort from the NFL and the fans from the grassroots. It has to be a true trichotomy but would be a great benefit to further the growth of the game. With all the money the NFL is getting from taxpayers and their television deals, they can give back. Mightily. So why not do it in a planned, pro-active way that we can all get behind?

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