Former 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne explained that his decision to retire from the NFL and join Fiji’s Olympic rugby team was due in part to having trouble learning HC Chip Kelly’s playbook as quickly as others.
“I just think with Chip’s playbook, it’s such an intense playbook that it would just take too much time,” Hayne said, via the Sydney Morning Herald. “Me not having that college history, I think a lot of the guys adapt to it a lot faster because they’ve had the college playbooks. I was always behind the nine ball just learning in general. The guys playing in college were just that far ahead.”
Hayne added that had he attempted to break into the NFL sooner, he would have had a much better shot at making it in the NFL.
“That was the biggest thing, just knowing and wishing I had a couple of more years up my sleeve,” Hayne said. “If I had a couple more years up my sleeve 100 per cent I know what player I could have been. But time is of the essence and now I’m on to my next adventure and it’s brought me to Fiji.”
The 49ers officially placed Hayne on the reserve/retired list close to a month ago, which ensures that they hold his rights in the event he elects to return to the NFL at some point.
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.
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.