NOVELTY OVER: JARRYD’S NO.1 WITH A BULLET
JASON Taumalolo wants to play in the NFL and predicts Jarryd Hayne’s success will open the door for an increasing number of NRL players to convert to American football.
Singled out by former Australian NFL player Colin Scotts as a target for NFL clubs, Taumalolo revealed to The Courier-Mail he was a passionate NFL fan who hoped to try it himself.
Taumalolo said he was desperate to win a premiership for the Cowboys first and was committed to the club and his current contract.
However, Hayne’s move to San Francisco has inspired the dynamic backrower.
Taumalolo hopes to become a running back in the mould of his favourite player, former Detroit Lions star Barry Sanders.
“Playing NFL didn’t cross my mind until recently when I realised that if someone like Jarryd Hayne can switch codes and make his dream come true, then maybe the door could open for me,” Taumalolo said.
“It is definitely an option for me. I see my name was thrown up as a candidate to try American football.
“My focus right now is playing my best footy for the Cowboys and winning a premiership.
“I grew up watching NFL and all my favourite athletes were NFL players.
“Barry Sanders was my childhood hero. He was one of the best running backs to ever play the game. The way he carried the ball was amazing and I marvelled at him.
“I need to keep playing good football for a while in the NRL to even have a chance.”
At 191cm and 113kg, Taumalolo could also be an NFL tight end, a position that requires the players to block, run and receive passes.
Taumalolo said Hayne’s form for the San Francisco 49ers in pre-season matches would inspire NFL-loving Australians and Kiwis to chase their dreams.
The NFL is already targeting Pacific island nations – just like the NRL has for 20 years.
More than 70 NFL players have Polynesian heritage while more than 200 play Division I college American football.
NFL pundits refer to Samoa as “football island” because of the overrepresentation of players from the tiny nation which has a population of 65,000.
“Jarryd is killing it over there,” Taumalolo said.
‘‘The kids here who want to go over there and play NFL, the door is now open.’’