The NRL has lost another major star to a rival code, after Parramatta Eels full-back Jarryd Hayne has announced he will quite Rugby League to chase his dream of playing in the NFL.
Hayne’s NRL career is over with immediate effect – and he has also withdrawn from Australia’s Four Nations squad this Autumn in order to try and crack American Football.
He is believed to have had talks with the Seattle Seahawks over a move to America, but in an emotional press conference where Hayne broke down in tears, he confirmed he will be going over there as a free agent in order to try and secure a move.
“Today I can officially announce that I will be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American football,” said Hayne, who has been part of the Parramatta club since he was 13. “I’ll be a free agent. It will give me the opportunity to go over there and train and potentially, hopefully, play NFL one day.”
“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,” he said.
“I’m so passionate about the challenge that lies ahead for me, not only as an athlete but more so as a person. It’s the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life … but for me to grow as an athlete and a person I feel this is the right step to take.”
Hayne is aiming to go over to the NFL as a kick returner or a punt returner, and believes he has the skills to settle into the game quickly – whilst admitting it will be tough, and if he doesn’t crack it, he will return to Parramatta in the NRL.
“I believe I have the speed, I’m a quick learner, I feel things out really quickly,” he said.
“I have no doubt it’s going to be tough. Ultimately it’s a 12-month plan, going over there and trying to make a train-on team. For me to do that I need to start preparing for that around January or February.”