Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that any player trying to make the transition from rugby to the NFL is in for a difficult challenge.
”I think it would be really hard. It’d be a tremendous challenge and only a certain few could do it,” Carroll said. ”And there would need to be a lot of patience from the club that goes for it if you do it.”
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Carroll was peppered with questions about Australian National Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne after Hayne announced his plans to seek a chance in the NFL. Seattle has been linked to Hayne because of his recent visit to the Pacific Northwest during which he took in the University of Washington and took a tour of the Seahawks facility.
Carroll said he did not meet Hayne during his visit and didn’t want to talk about Hayne specifically. Carroll joked about having ”scouts” in Australia but spoke only in generalities. Carroll’s underlying point was that any player without a football background would face difficulties in trying to make the transition.
”I don’t think, unless we’re writing a great script here, that a guy could come in the middle of the season and all of a sudden present a starring role for a team. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Carroll said. ”I think it’s going to take more time than that. But we’ve seen guys over the years make transitions from other sports. Basketball players doing it. It can happen certainly.”
During a news conference in Sydney earlier Wednesday, Hayne did not identify which NFL clubs – if any – were interested in offering him a tryout.
Only two weeks after being voted as the best player in the National Rugby League for the second time and a day after being selected again for Australia’s national team, Hayne revealed his career move first in a statement posted on the Parramatta club’s website prior to the news conference.
Hayne said if he was unsuccessful in his bid to break into the NFL and returned to the rugby league, he’d rejoin Parramatta. Renowned for his acceleration and counter-attacking prowess in rugby, Hayne said he believes he has the skills to make it as either a punt returner or kick returner.
Carroll said rugby players would be naturals to try to cross over because the two sports require similar skills.
”You’re looking for great athletes to make the transition because the guys on our level are fantastic athletes. … But there is just a lot of general carry over because it’s running, and making people miss, and hitting, and tackling, and being tough and physical and all that stuff,” Carroll said.