Before now, San Francisco 49ers chief executive Jed York has been reluctant to share his views about Jarryd Hayne, but since his NFL debut against Minnesota on Monday night the CEO has gushed with pride.
Speaking to the media from his Santa Clara office at Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday, York said Hayne’s journey has been “fascinating”.
“In the locker room, it’s just normal. He’s a part of the team,” he said. “It’s not a sideshow or ‘Oh well, this team is trying to sell more jerseys in Australia, that’s why this guy is here’. No. Guys sniff that out.
“The guys know why he’s suited up, because he deserves it. That’s what helps him. He’s inspired our team.”
Fairfax reports that Hayne’s personality and work ethic has earned him the respect of his team mates, who are excited to have him on the team.
“Everyone is jumping up, on their feet and high fiving each other…. He’s been one of the players who has helped this team bond in the off season because of his work ethic and determination,” York said.
“Those are characteristics that you can’t create. He’s obviously had that with whatever he was doing playing rugby already and brought that with him.
“They’re all rooting for him because they know what he gave up to come here and try this.”
But York is still cautious of talking-up his rookie. “You don’t want to talk about it because you don’t want to disrespect what he’s been able to accomplish.
“He’s working at it. And for us it’s great to expand the brand and expand national football, but this is about winning football games and Jarryd is helping us win football games.”
Fairfax Media has more.