Over the weekend former rugby league player Jarryd Hayne made history by securing a place in the San Francisco 49ers NFL team after just six months training and only four pre-season games.
This lightning fast transition of an international player is unprecedented with NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller saying “it’s a testament to what an extraordinary athlete he is.”
While much of Hayne’s success comes down to ball handling, agility and speed on the field, there is a lot mental strength involved.
Playing for the Parramatta Eels in the NRL, Hayne was earning almost $1 million a season. While playing pre-season games with the Niners he’s been paid just $AU600 a week.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hayne’s three-year deal with the NFL team will be worth $US1.58 million,($AU2.3 million) which means his first genuine pay day this week will yield $USD25,588 ($AU37,022).
Walking away from the comfort and financial security of his previous lucrative contract was a big gamble for the ex-NRL star.
“This was never about the money,” he told Fairfax Media.
For Hayne, it was always about the opportunity to play NFL.
“I know what I’m over here for. If I lose everything, then so be it,” he said.
“From giving up what I gave up, coming across here… it’s the in-depth things, the dark days, the things I went through that are probably more significant than any of my achievements. For me, that’s what’s more important, getting through those tough days more than the days where I can celebrate. That’s where I’ve grown more as a person.”
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