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Sarries' Smith to join NFL

04th April 2012 10:06


Hayden Smith Sarries 2011

Smith: Swaps Sarries for the Jets

Saracens lock Hayden Smith will switch sporting codes after signing a three-year contract to join NFL side New York Jets.

Smith, who has represented the USA Eagles in 18 Tests confirmed that he had workout with the Jets at the start of the year and will play as tight end.

"I've always said that you have to follow your dream," Smith told USA Today Sports.

"It's worked out well for me so far but its without a doubt the biggest step that I'll be taking and it's something that I'm very excited about."

Australian-born Smith moved to the USA to play college basketball in 2002 but soon switched to rugby and made his Test debut in 2008.

He joined Saracens at the start of the 2008/2009 season and played in all four matches for the Eagles' campaign at the World Cup in New Zealand last year.

He has been struggling to cement a place in Saracens senior team due to injuries and the emergence of Steve Borthwick and Mouritz Botha as the Aviva Premiership champions' first-choice lock combination.

Former NFL tight ends coach Tim Brewster, who helped Smith in his bid to join the NFL, was surprised how easily the 26-year-old adapted to his new sport.

"I was really amazed at a couple of things," explained Brewster.

"First, his ability to assimilate all the information I was throwing at him.

"Football makes sense to the kid. Second, his work ethic off the charts. He's a way above average athlete for the position. I think the kid has an outstanding future in the National Football League," he added.

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