Jarryd Hayne has survived the first round of roster cuts at the San Francisco 49ers, but the team’s announcement offered a lesson to the former NRL star.
The 49ers will take gambles on project players from other sports, but if the development is not quick enough they will show them the exit door.
That is what happened to 198cm, 138kg former British Olympic discus thrower Lawrence Okoye who was among 10 players waived by the 49ers in the first round of roster cuts on Monday.
It reduces the squad to 75 players.
Former NRL star Hayne, after three impressive performances for the 49ers in recent pre-season games, is expected to survive the final cut later this week when the team announces its 53-man roster for the regular season.
When Hayne announced late last year he was quitting the Parramatta Eels and crossing the Pacific in an attempt to break into the NFL, it was Okoye who many compared him to.
Just like Hayne, Okoye was taken under the wing of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula in 2013 and developed as a defensive lineman.
Tomsula was the defensive line coach at the time.
A year ago Okoye was cut, but then picked up and placed on the 49ers practice squad for more development.
The 49ers have until Saturday afternoon to reduce the squad to 53 players for the opening game of the NFL regular season against the Minnesota Vikings on September 14.
Earlier this year when Hayne entered the 49ers training camp and needed to tuck a cheat sheet of plays into his pants to guide himself on the field, a practice squad position would have been considered a success.
But, showing so much potential in the trial games against the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos over the past fortnight, Hayne will likely force the 49ers to include him in their 53.
When a player is waived, other teams can snap him up before the 49ers sign him to the practice squad.
The 49ers know if they waive Hayne another NFL team will swoop in and sign him before they can put him on the practice squad.
The other 49ers cut on Monday were kicker Corey Acosta, linebackers Steve Beauharnais and Shawn Lemon, corner back Mylan Hicks, tackle Sean Hooey, wide receivers Mario Hull, Chuck Jacobs and Nigel King and full-back Trey Millard.