Jarryd Hayne, the 2014 National Rugby League player of the year, announced Monday night in a news conference that he will be accepting a potential roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN reports.
The Australian born Rugby all-star, fielded offers from both the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks before making his decision to join the Niners.
Hayne is essentially signing an undrafted rookie free agent contract and is reportedly guaranteed $100,000 from San Francisco. At this time, he is not locked into a roster spot with the team, but will compete for one this summer during the NFL preseason.
The 27-year-old is 6’2, 226 pounds and is expected to play running back. Although he has no prior experience playing American football, the 49ers have high hopes from what they have seen from him on the rugby field.
According to ESPN, Hayne announced his intentions for playing in the NFL and retiring from rugby in October. Since that time he has been training in the U.S. with former NFL receiver, Tim Dwight. During his time with Dwight, Hayne reportedly ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash. If that time is accurate, Hayne’s speed is on par with college running backs at this year’s NFL combine.
— jarryd hayne (@jarrydhayne_1) February 22, 2015
Dwight told ESPN last week that last week he felt “Hayne had some quickness and speed and also had good size and height, but would have to learn how to take a hit in the league. When he does, he could be difficult to tackle.”