Hayne quits NFL to join Sevens

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Jarryd Hayne has retired from the NFL to pursue Olympic Gold with the Fijian Sevens team.

Hayne has been part of the San Francisco 49ers squad for the last 14 months trying to make it in the NFL but in a shock development has chosen to try his hand in Sevens.

The 49ers released a statement explaining his decision.

“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," Hayne said.

"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 organization was unbelievable when I let them know about my decision to pursue another dream.

Rugby Sevens will be Hayne's third professional sport in under two years, but he has one goal in mind.

“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," Hayne said.

"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.

“Last but not least, I would like to thank the 49ers Faithful for your unwavering support," he said.

"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.”

Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan will call Hayne into his squad for next weekend's London Sevens, the final World Series tournament of the season, leaving Hayne not much time to prove himself.

"I've had a few conversations with Jarryd and followed his career in the NRL in Australia, in the Bati with Fiji, and more recently with the NFL as a running-back for the 49ers," Ryan said.

"He got a taste for sevens when he was with the boys in Sydney and that sowed a few seeds, and that has just got bigger.

"He has had a chat with the 49ers and his agent, and I have with everybody else to make sure he is on our accreditation list and to ensure he ticks our boxes, he is a Fijian passport holder, all those sorts of things.

"I have no promises he is going to make the 12, but we will see how he goes. He will then come into Fijian camp for the Olympic period.

It is a huge challenge for Jarryd but if he gets into the squad it is only going to be on form, because he is a blinding rugby player.

If he doesn't make it, is just shows how good this Fijian sevens side is," Ryan said.