Jarryd Hayne, the former San Francisco 49ers running back that retired from the NFL to pursue playing in the Rio Olympics, has been told that he would not be selected to be part of the Fijian sevens squad.
In May, Hayne retired from the NFL and left the 49ers to pursue the dream of playing in the Olympics. Prior to that, he had left the National Rugby League in Australia to pursue the dream of playing in the NFL. Hayne's attempt to make the 49ers' roster was a big Australian media storyline during the 2015 preseason and his popularity soared after a impressive exhibition showings.
"I simply could not pass that chance up," Hayne said at the time. "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 likely would have had a difficult time making the 49ers' roster due to the team's depth at running back. He likely would have had to win the spot as a returner on special teams in order to make the final cut, which seemed unlikely to happen. Some believed that this influenced his decision to leave the NFL.
Back in April, Hayne expressed his commitment to his NFL career, shooting down rumors by the Australian media of a possible return to the National Rugby League.
Fiji coach Ben Ryan said that one of the biggest hurdles for Hayne was the limited time that he had to prepare for the Olympics.
Hayne posted the following on his Facebook page.
Last Friday I had a meeting with Ben to discuss my future with the team and I was informed that my time has ended. As much as I would have loved to go to Rio, I too knew I wasn't ready yet. During my time with the team, I pushed my body above and beyond. I used all my experience as a professional athlete and have tried everyday and in every way possible to make this team and make it better but unfortunately, time has been against me.
I've loved every minute of training with the Fiji Rugby 7's. Not only are they back to back world champions but they are a bunch of guys who have welcomed me into the team as one of their own family.
It was hard to comprehend and understand at first why I came here? Why God put me here, but deep down I knew there was a reason and a purpose. God takes you places not so you can achieve what you set out for, but to play a part and help something greater than yourself.
This has been an amazing journey for me and a truly humbling experience. I have learnt so much and will never forget my time with this team.
I want to thank Ben and the entire coaching staff, the players and especially the fans. The support of the Fijian fans and fans around the world over the past few months has been incredible. I am mesmerised at the love and passion people have for the 7's.
For now, I'll be in camp with the team until mid-week before heading back home to Sydney for some time out and will determine my next steps from there. I'll enjoy watching from afar and wish the team all the best of luck on their road to Rio.
Going to miss our prayers twice a day, endless laughs and ma man Sharkie! Nothing but love for the taganes.
Last season, Hayne appeared in eight games, rushing for 52 yards on 17 carries. He also had six receptions for 27 yards and eight punt returns on special teams, averaging 9.5 yards per return.