May 15, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Jarryd Hayne retires from football, rejoins rugby team
Running back and punt returner Jarryd Hayne is retiring from the San Francisco 49ers to return to his rugby roots.
Hayne announced he's leaving the NFL to play for the Fiji rugby team at the Olympics in Rio this summer.
The former Australia professional rugby player joined the 49ers last season.
“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 49ers organization has been incredibly supportive throughout my journey and I cannot thank them and the support staff enough.
"I am especially grateful to the strength and conditioning coaches, trainers and medical staff, equipment guys, public relations crew, chefs, logistics, and merchandise staff for their countless hours helping me in many different ways, so I could focus on football. Thank you to the fans from down under, as well as those around the world, who stood behind me and supported me along this amazing journey. I also want to thank the boys, especially my running back brothers, for their help and support in my transition to the NFL. I wish the team nothing but the best for the upcoming season.” Hayne rushed for 52 yards on 17 carries last season, caught six passes for 27 yards and returned eight punts with general manager Trent Baalke calling him a "tremendous example of what can happen when you commit to a goal and do everything in your power to make it a reality." Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.