Two-time Dally M winner Jarryd Hayne has today announced his NFL retirement effective immediately with the former Parramatta Eels star to appear at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games with the Fiji Rugby Sevens team.
The 28-year-old shocked the sporting world when he announced he would be departing rugby league to pursue a career in the NFL on 15 October 2014, eventually announcing his signing with the San Francisco 49ers.
Over the subsequent off-season, Hayne made huge waves at the franchise, however, he got limited game time in the regular season and was eventually cut to the reserve list.
He was training hard again in an effort to make the full side for the 2016-17 season, however has given up what he considered to be his ulimate sporting goal after an offer was extended by the Fijian Sevens team.
Now Hayne will aim to win a spot in the squad for the Rugby Sevens at the Rio Olympics in August.
“I simply could not pass that chance up,” Hayne said on Sunday.
“The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel very similar to me joining the NFL.”
A 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back and special teams player, the 28-year-old Hayne was a surprise to make the initial 53-man roster out of training camp as a rookie last year with San Francisco.
Playing eight games with one start for the 5-11 Niners, he had 17 carries for 52 yards and six catches for 27 yards while also returning eight punts for 76 yards.
“The support and understanding from the 49ers organisation was unbelievable when I let them know about my decision to pursue another dream,” Hayne said.
Hayne made the following statement:
“I’d like to thank Jed and the entire York family for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the National Football League. I also want to thank Trent and his staff, as well as Jim Tomsula, Tom Rathman and the other coaches who invested in me to make this dream a reality. I’d also like to thank Coach Kelly for the opportunity to come back this year. The support and understanding from the 49ers organisation was unbelievable when I let them know about my decision to pursue another dream. The past 12 months with the San Francisco 49ers have been absolutely incredible. I could not have predicted how far I have come as an NFL player. To not only be able to play in a game but also say that I started a game in the NFL is something that I will remember for a lifetime.
“I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji Rugby Sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up. The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel very similar to me joining the NFL.
“The 49ers organisation has been incredibly supportive throughout my journey and I cannot thank them and the support staff enough. I am especially grateful to the strength and conditioning coaches, trainers and medical staff, equipment guys, public relations crew, chefs, logistics, and merchandise staff for their countless hours helping me in many different ways, so I could focus on football. Thank you to the fans from down under, as well as those around the world, who stood behind me and supported me along this amazing journey. I also want to thank the boys, especially my running back brothers, for their help and support in my transition to the NFL. I wish the team nothing but the best for the upcoming season.
“Last but not least, I would like to thank the 49ers Faithful for your unwavering support. From day one you have always been in my corner and I can’t thank you enough for the love you’ve shown for the kid from down under. Signing off, your mate, number 38.”
Rumours have swirled about a possible switch back to rugby league every since Hayne departed our shores. This seems to put this well in the frame for 2017.