15 Oct 2014

Hayne plane takes off for NFL

5:10 pm on 15 October 2014

The rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has shocked the sport by announcing he's quitting the game to pursue an NFL career in the United States.

Jarryd Hayne in action for the Eels in May

Jarryd Hayne in action for the Eels in May Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The fullback has withdrawn from Australia's Four Nations squad and accepted a conditional release from his National Rugby League contract with Parramatta.

Hayne only recently returned from a trip to Seattle where he looked over the set-up at the city's NFL champion Seahawks.

He doesn't have a contract with an NFL club and is hoping to join a training squad with the aim of breaking into the NFL next season.

"I'm always telling people to chase their dreams and follow their hearts, if I don't live by that I'm not being honest with myself."

Hayne, who broke down during his packed media conference at Parramatta Leagues Club, says he's simply following a dream he's had for the past two years.

The 26-year-old says it's always been a dream of his to play in the NFL, and at his age, this is his one and only chance.

But Hayne says it hasn't been an easy decision to leave the Eels, as the club's been his home and family since he was 13.

Hayne says he has actually stalled his move to the US by one season already, as he felt he owed the club one more year, and he gave it everything he could.

But he says he feels he's done everything in the game.

"My dream was to buy my Mum a house, I did that - everything else has been a bonus."

Hayne says the easiest transition for him to the NFL would be as a punt and kick returner, and he wants to play offence.

But he's not ruling out a return one day, though he's giving himself a year to crack the NFL.

"I'm leaving knowing that I have signed a lifetime agreement with the Eels, so if I return to the NRL, it will be to Parramatta."

Penrith Panthers fullback Matt Moylan has been added to the Kangaroos squad for the Four Nations.