Around this time last year, 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne, a former rugby star in New Zealand, was one of the biggest stories in the NFL.
After a few preseason highlights and a quiet regular season, Hayne quietly left the league this offseason and returned to rugby. In an interview on the The Locker Room Podcast, via the New Zealand Herald, Hayne explained his reasoning for that decision:
“I need to be getting game time and you just can’t get that over there (in the NFL) because of the way it works,” Hayne said.
“The offence is only on for a certain amount of time and then there’s five other running backs.
“If there was a second division team where I could get those mental reps of being on the field, 100 per cent I’d go back to the NFL.
“I’m at the end of my career where I really (have) just got to get on the field.”
For most professional football players, the NFL’s “second division,” or minor league so to speak, is college football. Of course, Hayne never had the opportunity to play on Saturdays, but it’s not like there aren’t other options, such as the Canadian Football League and the Arena League.
Last month, Hayne said Chip Kelly’s “complex” playbook also contributed to his decision to leave American football.
“I just think with Chip’s playbook, it’s such an intense playbook that it would just take too much time,” Hayne told the Sydney Morning Herald.
That’s news for many of Kelly’s critics, who say his playbook is too simple for the NFL.
The actual explanation for why Hayne gave up on football is obvious: He just wasn’t good enough. And that was probably difficult for a guy who was used to dominating another sport. Michael Jordan wasn’t a good baseball player, so he returned to basketball. Hayne wasn’t a good football player, so he returned to rugby.
There’s no shame in admitting it, Jarryd.
For The Win
Jarryd Hayne says he'd return to the NFL if it had a minor league system
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