The former NRL star Jarryd Hayne decided to not only walk away from millions of dollars but from stardom and success — for a chance to make an NFL roster.
Hayne was one of the NRL’s premier players if not the NRL’s premier player, he did just about everything at an extraordinarily high level. He was the MVP of the league two times and has 103 career tries the NRL equivalent to a touchdown. His physical profile is quite impressive, standing 6’2″ 220 lbs.
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He looks like an NFL running back and the athleticism is there as well. Hayne in the open field is poetry in motion. For all the talent that Hayne possesses, the task of learning an entirely new sport, the most complex sport at that, is a daunting one.
Through two preseason games the interesting story has been a very pleasant surprise. He’s currently second in the NFL for rushing yards having 117 yards through two contests. Hayne is currently toting the rock at nearly seven YPC, which is incredible considering the lack of experience that Hayne has playing American football.
Some will bring up the fact that Hayne is playing against second and third team players, but these are still men that have been playing this game for the majority of their lives. Hayne has shown very good vision as well as the ability to run behind his blockers, something that is prohibited in the NRL. On punt and kick returns Hayne has been electric as well, showing the ability to make people miss and accelerate through contact.
Learning a new offense is hard for any player to do, even if the player has been around the game his entire life; for Hayne it’s like learning an entirely different language from the ground up.
Jun 11, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne (38) participates in drills at minicamp at Levi
All of his 49ers teammates seem to think that he has been making the transition fairly well, as evidenced by his efforts against the Texans and the Cowboys.
The team has a loaded backfield with 2014 2nd round pick Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter, and rookie Mike Davis. We can argue if Hayne is ready or not, (he shouldn’t be) and we can argue if someone with this little experience should make a roster, but we cannot argue what Hayne has shown us so far.
If he makes the 53 man active roster this will be one of the better stories in recent years.
For a guy who left a sure thing for a shot in the dark, Hayne has been doing everything that he can to make the 49ers roster.
Based on his play and potential impact, he deserves to make the 49ers team. “The Hayne plane” as he goes by in Austrailia is ready to take off stateside. For a team that has lost so much in one offseason, Jarryd Hayne can be the one positive this team needs to get that back on the right track.