Sydney: Australian rugby league superstar Jarryd Hayne on Wednesday dropped a bombshell by quitting the code to pursue an NFL career in the United States.
Just days after being named in Australia`s squad for the Four Nations tournament, Hayne announced he was leaving the Parramatta Eels in an unprecedented code swap.
"For the past 24 months I`ve been thinking about having a crack in the NFL, and over the last 12 months I`ve been seriously considering it," Hayne said in a statement on the club`s website.
"Today I can officially announce that I will be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American Football."
The team he was joining was not mentioned, but the 26-year-old fullback recently visited the reigning Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks.
He said he was immediately withdrawing from the Australian squad for the Four Nations tournament, with the Kangaroos due to face New Zealand on October 25.
"It`s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, and at my age, this is my one and only chance at having a crack at playing there," Hayne said.
"I`m excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead. I`ve known the deadline has been looming for me to make this call, and I believe the right time is now."
He added that he had agreed a lifetime deal with Parramatta so that, should he return to rugby league, it would only be with the Eels.