San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne, an Australian import, broke onto the NFL scene to a degree where he has the league changing its thinking on recruitment systems.
The Australian media visited the NFL's headquarters in New York City to have some questions answered regarding Hayne's transition from the Australian Rugby National League.
NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller fielded questions about Hayne's impact and what it could mean for the league's relationship with Australia, and even worldwide.
"It's definitely stimulated a lot of thought here about what can we do better to create a system for great talented athletes to find their way to the NFL more easily," Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald.
In the open forum, the league claimed the Australian sporting landscape has never been a priority. However, Hayne's natural take to the game, as shown by his preseason performance with the San Francisco 49ers, has them rethinking their strategy around player recruitment.
"Essentially, Jarryd basically took that decision himself and found his own way here. All credit to him. But we should probably be thinking about how we can make that easier. Not everyone is going to be as brave as he's been or potentially not as immediately talented. That's one aspect of thinking."
Hayne finished as the NFL’s second-leading rusher during the exhibition season with 175 yards on 25 attempts. Detroit’s Zach Zenner gained 183 yards on 10 more attempts. Hayne had a game-high 58 yards 10 attempts on Friday against the Chargers, and said he is feeling more natural in American football after his career in rugby league.
“Our coaches are always about lowering our shoulders, you know, getting ready for contact,” Hayne said. “So it was just a situation that, like I said, all that training, all the hours on the field, to finally see it come together.”