49ers RB Jarryd Hayne Retires From NFL

The NFL career of Australian running back Jarryd Hayne is over. The San Francisco 49ers announced Sunday that Hayne has retired from the NFL after just one season. Hayne will instead chase a chance to make the Olympics with the Fiji Rugby team. 

"We would like to thank Jarryd for his contributions to the San Francisco 49ers organization and our community over the last year," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "Jarryd is a tremendous example of what can happen when you commit to a goal and do everything in your power to make it a reality. He earned the right to wear a 49ers uniform and compete alongside the best in the game. We fully support Jarryd’s decision to pursue another dream - representing the Fiji Rugby Sevens team in this summer’s Olympic games. We look forward to watching him in Rio and wish him continued success."

Hayne left rugby to play for the 49ers as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in eight games last season for the 49ers after starting the season on the practice squad. He had 17 carries for 52 yards and six receptions for 27 yards. He also helped on special teams and returned eight punts for 76 yards.

"The support and understanding from the 49ers organization was unbelievable when I let them know about my decision to pursue another dream," Hayne said. "The past 12 months with the San Francisco 49ers have been absolutely incredible. 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. 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. 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."

Hayne also thanked the 49ers fans in his statement. Hayne's rugby and Australian background had earned him a bigger fanbase than most reserve backups. 

"Last but not least, I would like to thank the 49ers Faithful for your unwavering support," Hayne said. From day one you have always been in my corner and I can’t thank you enough for the love you’ve shown for the kid from down under. Signing off, your mate, number 38.”

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