“I have shown interest in the NFL for a while and I’ve spoken to a few of my friends about how I’d love to go there,” said Burgess to the Daily Telegraph in May this year.
The 22 year old Rabbitohs star, Tom Burgess, is admittedly keeping one eye on Jarryd Hayne’s NFL progress, progress that will reach a pivotal point at 8pm (ET) Sunday in Houston Texas (10am, Monday AEST).
Most won’t be able to see how he goes until after the game but over the course of four preseason games every NRL fan should keep an ear out for his success because it could mean more for the game than we realise.
“A lot of players … and there’s more than you think to be honest, are going to look at that league and think how good would it be to play over there and experience being in America.” Burgess said.
“Everyone is watching with a close eye.”
I will be watching with a close eye.
As an NRL fan, NFL fan and personal Jarryd Hayne fan I want him to do well; to flex the muscles of the Aussie.
Another part of me wants him to fail; the part that worries about the future of the game.
We already have to contend with Rugby Union and Aussie Rules to keep the stars of our game but if Jarryd Hayne pulls this off then we won’t only be dealing with Rugby League players seeking out NFL stardom but the NFL could begin actively seeking out Rugby League players.
Unfortunately they have plenty of money to throw at players if they want; much more money than Australia has.
Perhaps this is what Dave Smith anticipated by placing $100 million aside in the war chest and as much as I believe the war chest is a bad idea it could be necessary to keep greedy eyes away from our stars.
Social Media has been set alight this week with the footage of Hayne breaking the tackle of 5 defenders to score a touchdown in the 49ers training squad.
49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst seems very keen on the Australian star from what he has seen in Hayne’s short time in the game and is going to test him out in many different aspects of the game to give him an even better chance of making the 53 man team.
“We’re definitely going to use him on all facets of the game: running, catching, fielding on special teams, whatever,” he told Fox Sports.
“At the end of the day, we’ll know more about Jarryd, but it’s exciting.”
If Hayne makes the team, in whatever position, and performs during regular season games it could create a ripple effect that will send shock waves through the NRL.
Pat Richards even considered a move to the NFL for his kicking prowess.
American Football has the game structure that can pin-point a particular skill of a player and utilise said skill completely and solely.
Who knows what players might be swayed by the flashing lights, money and fame waiting in the USA but if Jarryd Hayne succeeds I believe we will find out.