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San Francisco 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne retires to pursue Olympic rugby aspirations

By The Sports Xchange
San Francisco 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne retires to pursue Olympic rugby aspirations
San Francisco 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne (38) covers the ball as he runs behind a block by Andrew Tiller (61) in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on September 3, 2015. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Rugby star Jarryd Hayne announced his retirement on Sunday after playing one season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Hayne, a running back, said the opportunity to play rugby in this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro prompted the decision.

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"I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji Rugby Sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up," Hayne said in a statement. "The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel very similar to me joining the NFL."

Hayne, 28, signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent on March 3, 2015. He appeared in eight games (one start) last season and had 52 yards on 17 rushes and also caught six passes for 27 yards. He returned eight punts for 76 yards.

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"We would like to thank Jarryd for his contributions to the San Francisco 49ers organization and our community over the last year," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "Jarryd is a tremendous example of what can happen when you commit to a goal and do everything in your power to make it a reality. He earned the right to wear a 49ers uniform and compete alongside the best in the game.

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"We fully support Jarryd's decision to pursue another dream -- representing the Fiji Rugby Sevens team in this summer's Olympic games. We look forward to watching him in Rio and wish him continued success."

The Australian native played in the National Rugby League from 2006-14 before joining the 49ers.

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