As of June 18, the San Francisco 49ers have two departures. One is G Alex Boone, who signed a four-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. The other, RB Jarryd Hayne, who retired last month to continuing pursuing his other passion — rugby. For most of his life, Hayne participated in rugby, playing for the National Rugby League, Parramatta Eels from 2006 to 2014. Now, he looks forward to becoming a member of the Fiji Sevens rugby team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Hayne also admitted to Faixfax Media in Australia that he wishes he would have joined the NFL sooner, saying adjusting to new Head Coach Chip Kelly’s style also influenced his decision to accept the opportunity to try out for the Fiji national rugby sevens team.
“I just think with Chip‘s playbook, it’s such an intense playbook that it would just take too much time,” Hayne said. “Me not having that college history, I think a lot of the guys adapt to it a lot faster because they’ve had the college playbooks at thought. I was always behind the nine ball just learning in general. The guys playing in college were just that far ahead.”
Hayne continued, “That was the biggest thing, just knowing and wishing I had a couple of more years up my sleeve. If I had a couple more years up my sleeve 100 per cent I know what player I could have been. But time is of the essence and now I’m onto my next adventure and it’s brought me to Fiji.”
Hayne signed a three-year deal with the 49ers on March 3, 2015 and played eight games for the 49ers last season, with 17 carries – a total of 52 yards, an average of 3.1 yards per carry and four first downs. He also had six receptions, with an average of 4.5 yards per reception and two first downs. His eight punt return attempts resulted in 76 total punt return yards and three fumbles.
“Jarryd is a tremendous example of what can happen when you commit to a goal and do everything in your power to make it a reality,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “He earned the right to wear a 49ers uniform and compete alongside the best in the game. We fully support Jarryd’s decision to pursue another dream — representing the Fiji Rugby Sevens team in this summer’s Olympic games. We look forward to watching him in Rio and wish him continued success.”
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