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Jarryd Hayne puts feelers out to pursue dream to play American football

American dream: Jarryd Hayne would love to try his hand at the NFL.

American dream: Jarryd Hayne would love to try his hand at the NFL. Photo: Getty Images

Jarryd Hayne has revealed a hidden desire to play American football, leaving the door slightly ajar for an unlikely code switch after undertaking secret gridiron sessions in the off-season.

Hayne, who is off contract at the end of next year, spent two training sessions with the UTS American football team in October, making inquiries into potential pathways to crack the National Football League in the US.

At Hayne's request, Gridiron Australia officials explored opportunities in the US for an open trial at an NFL franchise, but Hayne's World Cup commitments with the Kangaroos prohibited him from pursuing his American dream.

Stateside: Jarryd Hayne with Parramatta teammates Tim Mannah and Joseph Paulo at a Dallas Cowboys game.

Stateside: Jarryd Hayne with Parramatta teammates Tim Mannah and Joseph Paulo at a Dallas Cowboys game. Photo: Instagram

"I've definitely thought about it for sure," Hayne said. "I've had a couple of sessions with UTS and it's something that excites me. I actually spoke to Reggie Bush in depth about it when he was over here. We were talking about different plays, what Detroit was like, what Miami was like and New Orleans was like. It interests me.

"For me, life's always about a challenge. Playing Origin is a huge challenge and beating Queensland is obviously a huge challenge. Bringing Parramatta back up from the bottom of the ladder is another challenge. What lies beyond that I'm not too sure. As long as I'm still getting challenged in league, then I'll be here."

UTS Gridiron president and Gridiron Australia director Matt Steel helped set up Hayne's sessions in the off-season.

Hayne trained as a wide receiver in his first session and as a safety in the second session, showing enough promise for Gridiron Australia officials to take his request of seeking a try-out in the US seriously.

"We spoke about whether we could get him a try-out overseas," Steel said. "He said he had a strong desire to try and get over there. But he'd be giving up a lot to go over there. I think he was genuinely interested in going over. When we spoke to him, we told him we could put him in contact with some people that could open a few doors. I opened up a few doors for him after seeing what I could do but, by that stage, he had taken off to the World Cup.

"The people I spoke to were happy to put out an expression of interest to open up a few avenues for him but the World Cup took a bit of the shine off his dream."

UTS vice president and coach Matt Long admitted age was a huge factor in determining the 26-year-old's chances of making it in the sport, but believes Hayne has the ability – as long as he has the dedication – to make a fist of any opportunity he pursued in the US.  

"If he was to go over and dedicate himself, I'm pretty sure he'd be able to go over there and make a really good crack at it and he'd stand a fairly good chance at being a first- or second-stringer." Long said.

"It's a hard sport to get into with some of the specific stuff because it is so specialised. But if he wanted to play NFL and someone decided to pick him up and give him the training, I think he wouldn't be out of place. If he was to go through the normal route, through high school and colleges, that would be impossible. But if he was to go over now to an NFL team and they gave him the intense training, he'd be a chance.

"He's got that natural athleticism, he's got the speed. He'd already be one of our top players in the country. He can tackle pretty well and has got a turn of speed. Playing fullback he has that eye of being able to read the field. Cornerback or the safety position where you have the over watch for all of what's happening on defence would suit him."

Former Tigers, Dragons and Roosters winger Peni Tagive is playing college football at Baylor University in Texas, while Australian Jesse Williams is heading into his second year with Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks after playing college football at Alabama.

While things seem to come naturally to Hayne on a rugby league field, he admits his lack of experience and his age would make the switch even more difficult.

"For me, being 26 and a different sport, it's huge," he said. "You pick up so many things when you're young and things come natural for you. It would obviously be a huge ask, but, for me, I might probably be a bit old. It's tactical. It's not one of those off-the-cuff sports like rugby league is. I was speaking to Reggie about it. It's like a game of chess and you have to make sure the move you make has got to be correct. It can't be wrong or it might jeopardise the team.

"Over here I'd go all right just with my ability, but from a technical point of view I was just kind of going mad trying to sack the quarterback all the time when I was training. It was pretty funny but I think the quarterback was a bit filthy. Their quarterback is a University quarterback. He actually made me look silly a few times throwing a dummy."

24 comments

  • Hayne may be athletically gifted enough to play in the NFL, however, his age and lack of experience would make it pretty much impossible for him to make the transition.

    Commenter
    Heff
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 07, 2014, 2:40AM
    • Tend to agree. Would be interesting to see how he progressed but can't imagine him having such a massive impact. If he made it off the bench for any of the NFL teams it would be a big surprise.

      Commenter
      frank
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 11:24AM
    • Hef, I totally agree with you and having played college ball I would argue that he would struggle with
      1) the absolute depth of the playbook (in college in the mid 1990s it was around 100 pages, but in the NFL it can range between 500-800 pages)
      2) Lack of instincts. At the SS/FS position at which Jarryd would probably be the most suited, a momentary hesitation can result in an opposition TD. The guys that he would be competing against to make the 53 man roster have been playing the game their entire lives and have watched thousands of hours of game film. Whereas Jarryn would be starting afresh at age 26. "Going mad and trying to sack the QB" would not cut it at an NFL training camp when he was assigned a specific task to perform.
      3) To make the 53 man roster as a backup DB Jarryd would have to be able to contribute on special teams, something he may struggle to do so due to point 2.

      All in all an amusing story on a Monday morning, but a career chage with very little chance of success.

      Commenter
      H
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 11:51AM
  • I've always wanted to see how an elite union, or league player would go in the NFL.

    I love my league, and I love my union, but nothing comes close to the NFL.

    Commenter
    Ged
    Date and time
    July 07, 2014, 7:09AM
    • You're kidding? NFL is a huge step down from the rugby codes in terms of skill and athleticism.

      Commenter
      Jace
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 9:36AM
    • Mark Harris, Roosters Centre in the 1970's.

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 10:20AM
    • Ged, keep an eye on how Daniel Adongo goes for the Colts this year, his first real season after switching from the Kings in South African rugby. He wasn't an elite player in the sense of being an international (he's from Kenya) but he's an impressive athlete and has Super Rugby experience.

      Jace, that's not true. American football is highly specialised and thus the skills are also specialised. As for athleticism, it's about explosive power and short bursts, not cardio. Within that parameter they are some pretty phenomenal athletes.

      Commenter
      Biff
      Location
      Randwick
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 10:38AM
  • Jarryd Hayne is almost perfectly suitable for American Football. His Rugby League style would adapt perfectly. Much like he does at Parramatta, he could stand around doing very little, have an occasional incisive run, and listen to the commentators rave on about his brilliance. Then he could go and sit on the sideline for a couple of minutes to rest before the next attack.

    Commenter
    The Dog
    Location
    Haberfield
    Date and time
    July 07, 2014, 7:44AM
    • LOL, yes, lot of truth in your comments. When he is at FB he spends a little too much time walking for my liking. Nathan Hindmarsh he is NOT.

      Commenter
      jmg
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 10:59AM
    • @jmg - funnily enough he isn't playing in the second-row , either... I never heard anyone criticising Nathan for not being Brett Kenny ...

      Commenter
      Jumpingjacques
      Location
      Cumberland Oval (in my dreams)
      Date and time
      July 07, 2014, 11:28AM

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NRL Season 2016

Round 1
Thu, 03 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR vs BRI 20:05Pirtek
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN vs CBY 20:05BO
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBR vs PEN 15:00GIO
WST vs NZW 17:30CSS
NQL vs CRO 19:301300
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs SOU 16:00AS
GCT vs NEW 18:30Cbus
Mon, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs STG 19:00AAMI
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Round 2
Thu, 10 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN vs CBY 20:05Pepp
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NZW 20:05SUN
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBR vs SYD 15:00GIO
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:30Pirtek
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRO vs STG 16:00Shark Park
MEL vs GCT 18:30AAMI
Mon, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs MAN 19:00VAS
Fri, 16 SepTimes shown AEST
vs 00:00TBA
Sat, 17 SepTimes shown AEST
vs 00:00TBA
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Round 3
Thu, 17 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL vs SYD 20:051300
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY vs PAR 20:05ANZ
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CBR 17:30HS
PEN vs BRI 19:30Pepp
GCT vs WST 21:30Cbus
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
STG vs SOU 16:00SCG
Mon, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN vs CRO 19:00BO
Fri, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
vs 00:00TBA
Sat, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
vs 00:00TBA
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Round 4
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU vs CBY 16:00ANZ
BRI vs NQL 20:05SUN
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBR vs GCT 17:30GIO
SYD vs MAN 19:30AS
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG vs PEN 16:00WIN
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
WST vs PAR 16:00ANZ
CRO vs MEL 19:00Shark Park
Sun, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
vs 00:00TBA
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Round 5
Thu, 31 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN vs SOU 20:05BO
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
GCT vs BRI 20:05Cbus
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs NEW 15:00AAMI
WST vs CRO 17:30CSS
NQL vs STG 19:301300
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
PAR vs PEN 16:00Pirtek
Mon, 04 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY vs CBR 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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Round 6
Thu, 07 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 19:50SUN
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU vs SYD 19:50ANZ
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBR 15:00Pirtek
NZW vs MAN 17:30MSS
PEN vs NQL 19:30Pepp
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO vs GCT 14:00Shark Park
NEW vs WST 16:00HS
Mon, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs CBY 19:00AAMI
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Round 7
Thu, 14 AprTimes shown AEST
MAN vs PAR 19:50BO
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
NQL vs SOU 19:501300
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT vs STG 15:00Cbus
CBY vs NZW 17:30Westpac Stadium
BRI vs NEW 19:30SUN
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 14:00GIO
WST vs MEL 16:00VAS
Mon, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PEN 19:00AS
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Round 8
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SOU 19:50SUN
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY vs GCT 15:00ANZ
CBR vs WST 17:30GIO
NQL vs PAR 19:301300
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO vs PEN 16:00Shark Park
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs MAN 14:00HS
STG vs SYD 16:00AS
MEL vs NZW 19:00AAMI
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Round 9
Thu, 28 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU vs WST 19:50ANZ
PAR vs CBY 19:50ANZ
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 15:00Carrington Park
SYD vs NEW 17:30CCS
MAN vs NQL 19:30BO
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 12:00MSS
GCT vs MEL 14:00Cbus
CRO vs BRI 16:00Shark Park
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Round 10
Thu, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBR 19:50Jubilee Oval
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs SOU 19:50Pirtek
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs NZW 15:00AMI Stadium
MEL vs NQL 17:30SUN
MAN vs BRI 19:30SUN
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
WST vs CBY 16:00ANZ
Mon, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SYD 19:00Cbus
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Round 11
Thu, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs STG 19:50ANZ
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
NQL vs BRI 19:501300
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
NZW vs CBR 17:30Yarrow Stadium
CRO vs MAN 19:30Shark Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs GCT 14:00Pepp
CBY vs SYD 16:00ANZ
Mon, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs MEL 19:00Pirtek
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Round 12
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WST 19:50SUN
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO
Mon, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PAR 19:00HS
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Round 13
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs MAN 19:50GIO
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs BRI 15:00MSS
NQL vs NEW 17:301300
MEL vs PEN 19:30AAMI
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WST 16:00AS
SOU vs GCT 18:30nib Stadium
Mon, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs CRO 19:00ANZ
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Round 14
Thu, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBR 19:50SUN
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:50ANZ
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs NZW 15:00HS
PAR vs GCT 17:30TIO
SYD vs MEL 19:30AS
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs PEN 16:00BO
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBY 16:00ANZ
CRO vs NQL 19:00Shark Park
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Round 15
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
SOU vs PAR 19:50ANZ
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs MEL 19:30WIN
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 16:00MSS
Mon, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus
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Round 16
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:50Pepp
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs STG 15:00HS
CRO vs NZW 17:30Shark Park
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus
MEL vs WST 16:00AAMI
Mon, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NQL vs MAN 19:001300
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Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CBY 19:50AS
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 19:50SUN
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs GCT 15:00MSS
WST vs PEN 17:30ANZ
CRO vs PAR 19:30Shark Park
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 14:00GIO
SOU vs NQL 16:00Barlow Park
Mon, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs STG 19:00BO
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Round 18
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs SYD 19:50Pirtek
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
CBY vs WST 19:30ANZ
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CRO 16:00Pepp
Mon, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 19:00GIO
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Round 19
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs GCT 19:50Jubilee Oval
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
SOU vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NEW vs MEL 14:00HS
PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
Mon, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CRO 19:00AS
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Round 20
Thu, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBY 19:501300
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
Mon, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
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Round 21
Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
CBY vs STG 00:00ANZ
GCT vs CRO 00:00Cbus
PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
NQL vs MEL 00:001300
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Round 22
Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
CRO vs CBR 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
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Round 23
Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
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Round 24
Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
SYD vs STG 00:00AS
NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
NQL vs NZW 00:001300
MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
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Round 25
Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
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Round 26
Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
NQL vs GCT 00:001300
MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
View All Fixtures

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