NRL to NFL, Rugby Superstar Jarryd Hayne Quits Rugby to Try for NFL

In an unexpected move Tuesday, 26-year-old rugby superstar Jarryd Hayne announced he will leave the Parramatta Eels and withdraw from Australia’s Four Nations squad in a move from the National Rugby League (NRL) to try to make a squad in the National Football League.

Hayne told a media conference that he believes he has the talent and speed to make it in the NFL, but he will travel to the US as a free agent having not signed a contract with any franchise.

“For the past 24 months I’ve been thinking about having a crack in the NFL, and over the last 12 months I’ve been seriously considering it,” Hayne wrote in an open letter to Eels fans on the club website on Wednesday.

“Today I can officially announce that I will be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American football.

“I will be withdrawing from the Kangaroos’ Four Nations side immediately, and accepting a conditional release from the Eels to make the move overseas.”

Describing it as the hardest decision of his life, Hayne added: “I’m excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead. I’ve known the deadline has been looming for me to make this call, and I believe the right time is now.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, and at my age, this is my one and only chance at having a crack at playing there.”

“I’m so passionate about the challenge that lies ahead for me, not only as an athlete but more so as a person.

Hayne recently returned from Seattle where he did visit the Seattle Seahawks facility. It is unknown if this trip influenced this announcement.

Hayne is 6’2″ 220 lbs and could play running, be a kick returner, or even a punter. We look forward to following his progress as he attempts what will be an interesting transition.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.