Jarryd Hayne joins San Francisco 49ers

Former Kangaroos star Jarryd Hayne has announced that he has signed a rookie contract with NFL franchise San Fancisco 49ers.

He now has 20 weeks to prove himself in the gridiron code, and impress his new bosses enough to be rewarded with a longer deal.

Although the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers had also shown an interest in the former Parramatta man, thee 49ers are reportedly the only franchise to offer him a contract guarantee of US$100,000.

A rookie contract gives Hayne a spot on the 49ers 90-man roster, and an opportunity to challenge to make it onto the 53-man roster for the NFL season proper.

“It feels surreal,” Hayne told a press conference in Sydney.

“This is a small step in the right direction, it all starts now.

“Mentally I’m ready to do anything it takes. It’s a massive leap of faith.”

Hayne also indicated that it seemed likely that he would play as a running back.

“I just have to get over there and get into it. A running back is what they see me as,” he said.

“It depends on how I go, we will just have to wait and see.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect. No one has ever done this before.

“I’ve got 15-20 weeks of training to show what I can do.”

Hayne will return to the USA from Australia later this month before he officially starts training with San Francisco on April 10.

The player initially rejected the opportunity to sign with the 49ers, but coach Jim Tomsula had worked with rugby union players previously who had wanted to play American football.

“They were about to lose their head coach (Jim Harbaugh) from all media reports and the plan was to go to a stable environment,” Hayne said.

“There were was a lot of question marks, but I said I’d go. I ended up meeting Jim Tomsula the current head coach, and we spent about an hour together.

“He was the one coach who knew the transition better than anyone and knew what it was going to take for me to make the transition.

“When Jim (Harbaugh) left and Tomsula got the job, the one guy I spent the most time with was the new head coach.”

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