Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has told US media that anything is possible when it comes to Jarryd Hayne’s dream of playing in the NFL.
Hayne announced on Wednesday he would be leaving the Eels immediately with a conditional release to begin training for the NFL, after signing a “lifetime” agreement with the club to play for the Eels if and when he returns to the NRL.
And while Hayne is leaving without a contract, and without having entered discussions as yet with an NFL franchise, Carroll believes the dual Dally M medallist and 2014 fullback of the year’s skills could transfer to the American game.
"There is a lot of just general carryover because it's running, making people miss, tackling, hitting, and being tough and physical and all that stuff," Carroll said.
“Those things are pretty common."
But nonetheless, the leap from rugby league to the NFL would be an incredible achievement if “the champ” could manage it.
"It'd be a tremendous challenge and only a certain few could do it," Carroll said.
"It isn't the kind of thing, I don't think - unless we're writing a great script here - that a guy could come in in the middle of the season and all the sudden present a starring role for that team. I don't think that's going to happen. I think it's going to take more time than that.”
"But we have seen guys over the years that have made transitions from other sports, basketball players doing it. So it can happen.”
Earlier in 2014, Hayne travelled to the United States to get a clearer look at American football franchises including the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Huskies college side, but the Eels fullback’s interest in the game has been long-held.
Hayne penned a letter to Eels Members on Wednesday explaining his decision, and thanking the Blue and Gold Army for almost 15 years of support.
“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,” Hayne wrote.
“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.”
“I’m always telling people to chase their dreams and follow their hearts, if I don’t live by that I’m not being honest with myself.”
“I’m grateful to all of you for the support you've shown me at this club, thank you.”