Australian star Jarryd Hayne joins 49ers

Former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has officially reached a deal with the San Francisco 49ers. "I'm going to be a San Francisco 49er," Hayne said before donning a 49ers baseball cap. Hayne said he got $100,000 guaranteed from the 49ers, an impressive figure considering he's never played American football before. 49ers coach Jim Tomsula has a background in NFL Europe developing Europeans into NFL players, which Hayne said was instrumental in making his decision. Hayne also thanked Jack Bechta, his agent, of JB Sports for helping him through the process of coming to the NFL. Hayne has worked with Tim Dwight, Sav Rocca and other former NFL players to prepare for his conversion to a new sport. Hayne chose the 49ers after also visiting the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. He's projected as a return specialist and running back. “When I took over the management of Jarryd Hayne, there was about 16 teams who wanted to bring him in for a private workout,” Bechta said. “Because of the level of interest, I thought it was best to have a pro day workout in which 14 teams attended.  Of the 14 teams about 10 requested a personal visit to their club to meet with their coaches. “Jarryd visited the 49ers, the Seahawks and the Lions, three clubs that i have confidence in having the energy, experience, plan and patience for developing him. and on top of that opportunity to contribute right away on special teams. Jarryd feels comfortable and natural as a return specialist and will try to make it as a running back. He knows he has to earn his way onto a roster via special teams and start at the bottom of an 80-man roster.  I took him on because I am confident he will make it.”
Hayne was named the best player in the National Rugby League last season before retiring from the sport to pursue a football career. The New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets also displayed interest in Hayne. Hayne recently ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds. His time would rank him sixth among running backs from the NFL scouting combine, including Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford (4.42), Florida State’s Karlos Williams (4.48), Texas A&M’s Trey Williams (4.49), Northern Iowa’s David Johnson (4.50) and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (4.52). Other teams that attended his Pro Day at the University of San Diego or requested video included the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. The 6-foot-2, 226 pounder had a 1.59 10-yard split and  4.29 20-yard shuttle. The running back drills were run by retired NFL running backs and offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon. Hayne trained at Jay Glazer’s Unbroken workout facility. He also had several kick return sessions, including catching punts from Sav Rocca and Mat McBriar while being tutored by Darren Bennett and Tim Dwight. “I got to work with Jarryd for three weeks and I was very impressed with his skill set,” Shelmon said. “He has a tall, linear build that reminds of one of my former players, Chris Warren. Like Chris, he has exceptional hands, good feet and runs tall. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly he caught on for never having played the game before. “He has natural ball skills and catches the ball naturally. I am convinced he can help a team out immediately in the punt and kickoff return game, and eventually make it as a running back.” Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun
Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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