The Courier-Mail



JARRYD Hayne has become the greatest story in Australian sport.

The 27-year-old former rugby league player is poised to become a household name in America and earn up to $US10 million over the next three years after officially realising his dream of playing in the NFL.

Hayne’s blitzing preseason form for the 49ers made him one of the league’s hottest new prospects and pundits have tipped his rise to continue as he learns more and develops his skills.

His first real test comes in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on September 15.

For 15 long minutes after yesterday’s 1pm deadline for the squad’s final cut had passed, Hayne waited nervously with mum Jodie and sisters Taygan and Jessi-Lea for word on whether his dream had come true.

“I said: ‘Do I get a phone call? Is someone going to tell me that I have a job or not?’ ” he said yesterday.

“It was the first time I’ve been nervous in a while. I was like: ‘ What’s going on? Yes? No? What’s happening? Is something going on?

“I just called my agent and he brought the good news.”

US marketing wiz Bob Dorfman reiterated his recent claim that Hayne can earn up to $12 million in endorsemen­ts over the next three years.

There’s no NRL player in the BRW top 50.

Yet the San Francisco sports marketer says that, with his switch to the NFL, Hayne can make seven fig- ures a formality should he become the starting punt returner.

“Right now, everyone here is Hayne, Hayne, Hayne,” Mr Dorfman said.

“Everybody in the Bay area has fallen in love with him. Better, Jarryd’s going viral. Every time he plays now, fans are looking for him to do something special – and then he does. It’s why his story is starting to spread right across the country.”

And when finally he spoke to news media yesterday afternoon, Hayne thanked his closest family, close friends, God and, finally, the 49ers and head coach Jim Tomsula, who knew this Aussie’s NFL CV topped out at a video game – and signed him anyway.

“For them to put faith in me, that’s the biggest thing,” he said.

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