Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has called time on his NFL career with the 49ers to join Fiji Sevens for the Olympics.
Hayne released a statement on Sunday stating that he was retiring from the NFL to take up a chance that he 'simply could not pass up'.
He said: “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.”
A 28-year-old native of Minto, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales, Hayne spent the previous nine years (2006-14) in the National Rugby League (NRL) with the Parramatta Eels.
In 2014, Hayne won numerous Dally M Awards, which are given to the best and fairest player over the entire National Rugby League regular season, as he was named the Player of the Year, Best Fullback, Top Tryscorer and Representative Player. Hayne previously won the Dally M Player of the Year and Best Fullback Awards in 2009, the Best Winger Award in 2007, and the Best Rookie Award in 2006.
He also represented Fiji in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and Australia in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.