Players retiring early is part of today’s NFL, but Jarryd Hayne‘s retirement after one season with the San Francisco 49ers is somewhat of a different tale. According to Yahoo Sports, Hayne has retired from the NFL to pursue another sports dream of his–participating in the Olympics.
Hayne was a big story coming out of 49ers’ camp prior to the 2015-16 season; a former rugby star making it on the 53-man roster in the NFL after having never played American football. It was a rocky season for the running back, and Hayne only posted 17 carries for 52 rushing yards. He also had six receptions for 27 yards, and did not score a touchdown in his only NFL season.
As he heads back to rugby, Hayne described why he was parting ways with the NFL but it has nothing to do with his health or injury concerns, like many of the young NFL players that retire early in their professional football careers.
“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,” Hayne said. “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.”
“The past 12 months with the San Francisco 49ers have been absolutely incredible,” Hayne said. “I could not have predicted how far I have come as an NFL player. To not only be able to play in a game but also say that I started a game in the NFL is something that I will remember for a lifetime,” via Yahoo Sports.
There are sure to be those that feel like Hayne is being selfish in one form or another, but he comes across as a person and athlete that has more than one dream and has no problem jumping from one to the next. After all, this opportunity is to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, which is something that not many athletes get to say they have had the chance to compete in.
For now, the only highlight-reel plays that we will remember Hayne by in his short time in the NFL are ones that took place in the preseason, but his career is anything but over.