Jarryd Hayne, former Australian rugby player, gets a chance to play professional American football with the San Francisco 49ers
While rugby and football do have many similar characteristics, they are not necessarily transferable. But for ex-rugby player Jarryd Hayne, he is going to try to make the transition to the best of his ability. He tweeted out that his dream of becoming an NFL player is finally a reality.
Hayne signed a contract for 100k in guaranteed money. He initially was deciding between the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, and 49ers, but the San Francisco area, guaranteed money, and coaching staff ultimately swayed his decision to sign with San Fran.
During his pro day he reportedly ran a 4.53 forty yard dash. He stands tall at 6’2, 225 pounds. A little tall for a typical running back or full back in the league, but could still be an asset offensively if he puts his mind to it.
Apparently that is all he has been doing since getting on the plane to pursue an NFL career.
"“He lived and breathed NFL from when he got on that plane. The first day we got there we went and bought an NFL ball and he wanted to go to the park straight away,” Hayden Knowles said who flew to the US in October with Hayne to help him make an NFL roster. “He prepared for that pro day like he was in fight camp. It was like a world title preparation, he was so professional and so hungry.”"
Players who made a living in professional rugby have tried to make the plunge into professional football before. But typically they make their living on special teams. People close to the situation think that Hayne can make it as an actual offensive player in the 49ers system.
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With the rumors surrounding Frank Gore and how he will likely not be re-signed by the 49ers, who knows what could happen with Payne if he impresses the coaches in training camp. After all, he does seem to have all the necessary skills and athletic ability to be a NFL player.
If Jarryd Hayne ends up making the 49ers roster after spring training it would be a fantastic story-line. His contract allows him to make guaranteed money, but only places him on the 90-man training camp roster. As the summer progresses and the Australian learns more about the game of football, we will see how far his athleticism will go in the NFL.