Jarryd Hayne was on the San Francisco 49ers’ roster for 57 days – that’s 57 more than many expected, to be fair.
But on Sunday (AEDT), Hayne was ruthlessly dumped by the 49ers and replaced with a more experienced American player.
After a series of remarkable highlights, missteps and fumbles, Hayne’s time living the NFL dream looks in jeopardy.
And with his manager saying Hayne is “no chance” of an NRL return, the next couple of days will have a huge impact on the speedster’s US fairytale.
It was a stunning fall from grace for Hayne, who began the year as an NFL starter and receiving praise from several authoritative US football voices.
“He’s really a football player,” legendary NFL figure John Madden told KCNS in September.
“In this short a time, you can ask ‘what do you think of him?’, and one of my main thoughts about him is: he’s a football player.”
Also in September, his most experienced 49ers’ teammate, Phil Dawson, described Hayne as “amazing”.
“Jarryd Hayne’s talents, they’re God given,” Dawson told News Corp. “Right off the bat, I noticed how well he caught a ball.
“Catching a punt, it’s one of the toughest skills in the NFL and Jarryd’s just stepped right in like a natural.”
All the plaudits in the world mean nothing now for Hayne, whose future lies in the hands of the other 31 NFL franchises over the next 24 hours.
Reports suggested both the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks were circling the Aussie.
If they do not sign him – which the 49ers hope will happen – San Francisco might offer the former NRL star a spot in their “practice squad”.
An NFL practice squad, or “taxi squad”, is a 10-man supplementary list of players who can be called on should a player on the main list need replacing, similar to the AFL’s rookie list.
San Francisco clearly see potential in Hayne, but not enough for a frontline role, given they will probably hold onto him for the practice squad if no other team recruited him.
The New Daily contacted Hayne’s manager Wayne Beavis but he refused to comment any further on the ruthlessness of the NFL or his man’s future.
‘Hayne-mania’ victim of NFL’s ‘churn-and-burn’
The NFL is one of the biggest sporting businesses in the world and that means harsh decisions are made, a former player told The New Daily.
“The NFL churns and burns,” former AFL player and NFL roster-member Nathan Chapman told The New Daily.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from or how much you’re paid – if they feel they can get somebody better, they will change the roster.”
Chapman, who now heads punting training academy ProKick Australia, said this kind of quick downfall is common in the US.
“Dramatic is one word [that springs to mind but] it happens on a daily basis where rosters are changed around and transactions of guys being waived,” said the former Green Bay Packer.
“The NFL is a business of winning and if they feel they can field a better team someone goes off the roster and somebody comes on.”
He believed Hayne would actually benefit from practice squad time, because it would give him the opportunity to develop his obvious aptitude for the sport and eradicate mistakes.
Chapman said it would have been a surprise to those in the know if Hayne got through a whole season without being dropped to the practice squad.
However, a veteran sports journalist for the San Jose Mercury in the US was less philosophical about the 49ers’ decision.
“I don’t know if this was Jim Tomsula’s [49ers’ coach] decision or Trent Baalke’s [49ers’ general manager] decision but I would guess they both came to this conclusion, though I cannot explain why they did such a thing,” Tim Kawakami wrote on his blog.
“Why would Baalke and Tomsula go through all this just to cut Hayne now, seven games into the season and precisely when they might really be able to see what he can do?
“I have no idea. I say this a lot about the 49ers these days: I just have no idea what they’re doing.”
Did these mistakes lead to Hayne’s dumping?
His first touch in the NFL was a fumble:
Another fumble against the Baltimore Ravens in mid-October:
However, there have been some stunning highlights
He did recover from the poor first touch in his first game:
Hayne’s best NFL moment came against the Arizona Cardinals:
— telegraph_sport (@telegraph_sport) September 27, 2015