Jarryd Hayne's move to NFL a 'calculated gamble'
RUGBY League players are as tough as any in the world.
But as Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne is about to discover, NFL players are on another planet when it comes to speed, strength and athleticism.
The NSW Origin and Australian star dropped a bombshell yesterday, announcing he was quitting the NRL immediately to chase his dream to play in the NFL, a path that has so far been beyond other league and rugby union mortals who've attempted to make the giant leap.
He is going to have to become faster, stronger, leaner everything.
"I am following my heart. I want to challenge myself. My speed and power are the recipe to make a NFL player," said Hayne as social media lit up with tweets from players and fans alike urging the 26-year-old "go for it".
"I know there'll be dark days with no friends, no family but I have the love, passion and desire."
NFL pioneer Colin Scotts, a former rugby union player who played tight end for the Arizona Cardinals 27 years ago, painted a tough picture of what Hayne would confront in his NFL quest.
"It's the most intense, complex and explosive game in the world and not having a college education will work against him at 26," he said. "Once you put that iron and fibreglass helmet on your head, everything changes.
"You start hitting 140, 150 kilo men who can run at Olympic speed .... He has no idea what he is walking in to in the grade of athlete.
"He's going up against the greatest athletes in the world now and everything is going to change.
"He is going to have to become faster, stronger, leaner everything.
Hayne, who's turned his back on a multi-million dollar offer from the Eels that would have made him the game's highest player, conceded he faced a huge mountain but one he could no longer resist trying to climb after toying with the idea for two years and losing some zest for rugby league..
Scotts said Hayne's bold call to leave a game he dominated and only recently was voted its best player with Johnathan Thurston, was a "calculated gamble".
The impact of Hayne's stunning decision on the NRL was immediate, with some critics suggesting it will prevent New South Wales from defending the State of Origin series next year after it took nine years to win it back.
Bookmakers doubled Parramatta's 2015 premiership quote from $17 to $34.
Close friend and former Parramatta teammate Krisnan Inu tweeted: "RL has lost one of its best but #BRINGONNFL stay true to yourself and no doubt your gunna kill it over there. love u bro!"
Another Eel, Tim Mannah, followed with: Bittersweet feeling. Sad to lose a freak of a team mate in @jarrydhayne but also excited to see one of my best mates chase his dream!