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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."


  • 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.

    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.

      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.

      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.

    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.

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

      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.

      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.

    The Dog
    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.

      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 ...

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

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NRL Season 2015

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CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
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CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
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PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
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NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
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SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
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CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
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MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
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BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
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CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
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CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
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CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
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NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
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PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
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BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
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CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
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PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
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CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
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PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
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STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
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MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
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CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
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Round 12
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PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
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GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
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BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
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NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
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CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
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CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
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Round 15
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MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
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GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
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NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
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SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
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CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
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MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
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WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
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PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
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NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
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GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
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PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
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BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
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CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
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NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
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BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
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WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
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CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
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CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
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CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
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MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
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MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
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PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
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SYD 30vs SOU 0 Report Stats
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PEN 30vs NEW 12 Stats
STG 32vs WST 30 Stats
NQL 42vs GCT 12 Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR 24vs CBR 28 Stats
CRO 12vs MAN 14 Stats
CBY 26vs NZW 22 Stats
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Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 18vs MEL 20 Report Stats
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CBY 11vs STG 10 Report Stats
BRI 16vs NQL 12 Report Stats
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CRO 28vs SOU 12 Report Stats
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SYD 38vs CBY 12 Report Stats
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NQL 39vs CRO 0 Report Stats
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Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 31vs SYD 12 Stats
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MEL 12vs NQL 32 Stats
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Telstra Premiership Finals Round 4
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BRI 16vs NQL 17 Report Stats
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 18 6 0 40
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 24 17 7 0 38
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 14 10 0 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 14 10 0 32
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 13 11 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 12 12 0 28
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