San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne retired from the National Football League on Sunday after just one season with the team.
The former rugby superstar made waves around the world of football last summer by showing himself to be more than capable of handling special teams duties during the preseason.
However, Hayne rarely played during the regular season, eventually finding himself on the team’s practice squad.
In announcing his retirement from football, the 28-year-old Australian had this to say:
“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,” the running back said, via NFL.com. “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.”
It’s somewhat of a shock. Hayne was expected to compete for a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster as a backup running back and special teams specialist this season.
The combination of athleticism and pure physicality made him a dynamic under-the-radar figure in San Francisco. Though, Hayne’s lack of knowledge regarding the game of American football put him behind the proverbial eight-ball as it relates to earning a spot among a group of more qualified young players.