Playbook clues: learning the 49ers moves is Jarryd Hayne’s biggest obstacle. Picture: Getty ImagesJarrydHaynehas spoken for the first time since joining the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month, admitting he still has a”huge mountain ahead”.
Speaking in front a large media gathering inside the club’s locker rooms at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara,Haynerevealed he had no concerns about his physicality and athleticism, admitting learning theplaybookwas still his major concern.
“Physically it’s not a concern,”Haynesaid.
“It’s just theplaybookand knowing where to be at the right time, whether to pass protect and running in gaps, or what not. Obviously the routes are a key factor as well. They are my main concerns.
“Physically, I feel fine. We got to train as a squad for two weeks leading up to being on the field with the coaches. I felt fine and comfortable. But when we’re out there and plays are getting called and studying, that’s going to be the biggest hurdle for me.”
Hayne, who walked out on a multimillion-dollar deal with the ParramattaEels to pursue his American dream, said he enjoyed being out of the limelight.
The 27-year-old was the face of the Eels and one of the most recognised NRL players in the country. However, being an unknown in the United States suits him.
New digs: Jarryd Hayne in the 49ers locker room. Picture: Michael Chammas
“I really enjoy not being in the spotlight like I am in Australia and working from the bottom again,”Haynesaid.
“That’s one of the biggest influences of me coming over, that new challenge and believing I can test myself and not being afraid of it. There’s still this huge mountain ahead of me and I’ve got a long way to go.”
Haynehas bulked up since leaving the NRL, but compared to some of the players in the 49ers locker room, he looks like ahalfback compared to a prop in rugby league.
The former Eels superstar said he was surprised at the size difference between the players in the two sports.
“Some are [the same] but then there are differences,” he said.
“The D-line (defensive) and O-line (offensive) are probably the biggest differences in how big they are. I didn’t realise how big they are. I didn’t realise how agile and how quick some of them are. To see big Joe Staley shooting out of left tackle,for such a big unit they really domove. When you’re behind the scenes you see a lot of things you wouldn’t see just watching a normal game.”
Hayne, who had an established relationship with running backReggieBush, has alsodeveloped a strong rapport with superstar quarterback ColinKaepernick.
“I think everyone has been great,” he said.
“I think everyone is there for some advice. Kap’s been awesome. I think he and the quarterbacks know how tricky theplaybookis. For me it’s just getting it down-pat so obviously the coaches feel confident in me going out there and doing it.”
WhileHaynehas four more months to prove he has what it takes to be on the final 53-man roster, he wouldn’t declare any loftyexpectations he has placed on himself.
“We’re only three weeks in,” he said.
“I’m just taking it day by day and taking baby steps at the moment. It’s such a newthing so I’m just taking my time and making sure I’m getting what the coaches are teaching me right and worrying about that.”