“We would like to thank Jarryd for his contributions to the San Francisco 49ers organization and our community over the last year,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “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.”
Here’s a statement from Hayne in which he says he plans to join the Fiji Rugby Sevens for the Olympics.
“I’d like to thank Jed and the entire York family for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the National Football League. I also want to thank Trent and his staff, as well as Jim Tomsula, Tom Rathman and the other coaches who invested in me to make this dream a reality. I’d also like to thank Coach Kelly for the opportunity to come back this year. The support and understanding from the 49ers organization was unbelievable when I let them know about my decision to pursue another dream. 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.
“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.
“Last but not least, I would like to thank the 49ers Faithful for your unwavering support. 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.”
This comes as a surprise, seeing as Hayne had said that he planned to continue his NFL career a few months. The 49ers expressed optimism about Hayne taking a step in year two, but it appears as though he felt like it was best to return to his rugby career.
Hayne, 28, wound up signing on with the 49ers last year and managed to make the 53-man roster coming out of the preseason. However, the 49ers waived him midseason and later signed him to their practice squad.
San Francisco will likely place him on the reserve/retired list in the coming days, which will ensure that they hold his rights in the event he elects to return to the NFL at some point.
In 2015, Hayne appeared in eight games and ran for 52 yards on 17 carries (3.1 YPC) to go along with six receptions for 27 yards and no touchdowns. He also contributed 76 kick return yards.