As a result, he has withdrawn from the Australia squad for the forthcoming Four Nations tournament.
“For the past 24 months I’ve been thinking about having a crack in the NFL, and over the last 12 months I’ve been seriously considering it,” Hayne said in a letter published on the Eels’ website.
“Today I can officially announce that I will be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American Football.
“I believe I have the speed, I’m a quick learner, I feel things out really quickly.
“I have no doubt it’s going to be tough. Ultimately it’s a 12-month plan, going over there and trying to make a train-on team. For me to do that I need to start preparing for that around January or February.
“I’m so passionate about the challenge that lies ahead for me, not only as an athlete but more so as a person.
“It’s the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. I’m leaving my teammates, friends, and most importantly my family; but for me to grow as an athlete and a person I feel this is the right step to take.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, and at my age, this is my one and only chance at having a crack at playing there.
“I’m excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead. I’ve known the deadline has been looming for me to make this call, and I believe the right time is now.”
In June, Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush enthused about Hayne’s Gridiron potential to Fox Sports Australia.
“He actually looks like an NFL running back. Looks like he could come play with us tomorrow,” Bush said when shown video of Hayne in action. “He’s fast, strong and … wow! Look at that hit. That’s an NFL football hit. I like this guy.”