That Didn’t Last Long

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Jaryyd Hayne’s venture into the NFL didn’t last long. In fact it lasted only one full season. Hayne ‘retired’ this past week to return to the world of rugby. Specifically he is playing with Fiji Rugby Sevens team in the Olympics this summer. Does this effect future non-football athletes from getting a shot in the NFL?

When Hayne left the Parramatta Eels he said, ‘I’m always telling people to chase their dreams and follow their hearts, if I don’t live by that I’m not being honest with myself.’ Now instead of sticking to that dream he is giving up on it to pursue another one.

While his circumstances have changed with the San Francisco 49ers as they changed out head coaches this off-season (Jim Tomsula is out and Chip Kelly is in). Kelly said that he was ‘surprised’ by Hayne’s decision but that he understood it. This leads one to believe that Hayne did have a shot at the 49ers roster with the new coach and that continuing his dream of playing the NFL was still a viable option.

It was less than a week a go that the 49ers were talking about how they expected Hayne to make a ‘major impact’ with the team in 2016.

Hayne could have been a solid NFL player. A great player? Maybe but the percentages of that were probably low and maybe that was a deciding factor is his decision to leave and pursue yet another dream. The fact is is that only Hayne knows for sure. What we do know is that Hayne had a legitimate shot at becoming a solid NFL player and I wish him the best of luck in the Olympics.


From NRL to NFL?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Jarryd Hayne is getting his shot to make an NFL roster. Hayne was the best rugby player in Australia before he retired to chase his dream of making it in the NFL. This spring he will get his chance when he shows up for camp with San Francisco 49ers.

We haven’t covered here at Sideline Signals and we’re not going to pretend that we know anything about this guy. What we do know is that he has been working out in the US in an attempt to make a roster and that he has the size and speed of an H-Back or possibly a return specialist. In other words, stranger things have happened.

Hayne went to the right place though. New 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula coached in NFL Europe and has experience working with international players. While Tomsula will have his plate full with his first NFL head coaching gig, he obviously has the patience to teach and motivate someone like Hayne.

The 49ers organization also has a track record of moving players to other positions (fullback Bruce Miller who was CUSA Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive end or former running back Michael Robinson who was a quarterback at Penn State). The 49ers are also one of the few teams out there that need an utilize their fullback position. It was a big blow to the team a few years ago when Miller went down before the playoffs. Hayne could fill a backup fullback role if everything goes really well.

Hayne’s biggest issue may just be the numbers. Is there a roster spot for a guy with such a big learning curve? Obviously his best chance is going to be on special teams. First as a gunner on punt cover and possibly as a returner. If he tackles and learns to block effectively then he has a shot to sway the numbers in his favor. At the minimum, he could make the practice team.

The fact is this, Hayne has got as good of shot as anybody. Injuries are a part of football and if someone goes down here or there and Hayne proves that he is a quick study then he could make the active roster. It’s a long shot this season but it’s still a shot. Give the 49ers credit for taking a chance and believing that someone can transition from one sport to another.