NFL player leaves San Francisco 49ers to pursue dream of playing rugby sevens at Olympics

  • Jarryd Hayne has quit the NFL after just one season to play rugby sevens for Fiji in this year’s Rio Olympics 
  • Hayne played in Australia’s National Rugby League from 2006-14 before joining the 49ers
Jarryd Hayne has made the stunning decision to walk away from the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers, saying he ‘could not pass up’ the chance to feature at the Olympic Games.

The speedster will now travel to London to join up with Fiji before the Sevens World Series finale at Twickenham next weekend.

“The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel similar to me joining the NFL,” said Hayne, 28.

“The Fiji sevens team reached out to me. I could not pass that chance up.”

Australian Hayne, whose father is Fijian, signed for the 49ers as a running back in March 2015.

He played eight games for the 49ers, managing 52 yards on 17 rushes and also catching six passes for 27 yards.

“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 in a statement.

“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.”

Before joining the NFL, Payne was one of Australian rugby league’s highest earners and was voted the best player in the NRL in 2014.

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