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He is astonishing football commentators and fans on both sides of the globe but former Eels teammate Daniel Mortimer has a message for NFL scouts hastily planning a trip Down Under: Jarryd Hayne is one of a kind.

Twelve months ago Hayne was captain of the Parramatta Eels; today he is the talk of the NFL after another star showing for the San Francisco 49ers in a pre-season match against the Dallas Cowboys.

With his first two touches Hayne produced kick returns better than anything anyone on the 49ers roster could manage last season and even delivered a 34-yard carry as a running back in the second half as he finished with 54 yards from eight rushes.


The impossible dream of earning a place on an NFL roster seems now almost a certainty and even those such as Mortimer who witnessed the 2014 joint Dally M winner's passion for the game first-hand are astounded at what he has been able to accomplish.

After Hayne's first outing for the 49ers last week former Australian NFL player Colin Scotts said he had already fielded calls from scouts looking for the next Aussie sensation but Mortimer says there is only one Jarryd Hayne.

"I don't think you'll find many players can do it. I think he's definitely one of a kind," Mortimer told having played alongside him for three seasons at the Eels.

"There may be one or two other players that could do it, perhaps [Greg] Inglis or even Jimmy Roberts with his speed, but if I had to pick and back one person to make it, it would definitely be 'Haynesy' out of the NRL for sure.

"I've never seen an athlete chase a dream like this and he's succeeding at the moment.

"Fingers crossed he achieves that dream but you've got to love him even if he doesn't make it."


Although he never expressed an intention to those around him about his dream of one day pursuing a career in the NFL, Mortimer said that Hayne's passion for the sport was always evident, whether running mock plays with Krisnan Inu at training or regaling teammates of his exploits playing Madden on the PlayStation.


In a post-game interview the American broadcaster was effusive in Hayne's ability to switch between positions and Mortimer admitted that his success had even caught him by surprise. 

"It's crazy, it's surreal. No one was really sure how he would go but he's such a talent," said Mortimer.

"He always had a passion for it, even when I was at 'Parra' he had a big passion for the NFL. I never thought it would transpire to this though.

"I had my doubts, obviously the talent pool over there is ridiculous but he's doing it and doing it well.

"We've all seen it for years in the NRL but finally he's getting to do it on a much bigger scale.

"I think it might have been an internal desire that he didn't really share too much, even though he was passionate about the game. He's chased it and we're all loving it.

"It's still so surreal seeing him over there. I'll actually be over there, I'm going to San Francisco in October so hopefully he makes the squad and I can catch up with him over there." 

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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