Thurston tells of shock hearing Hayne is off to NFL
THEY stood together to become the first ever joint Dally M medal winners, now Cowboys' Johnathan Thursday has told of his reaction to Jarryd Hayne's grand NFL plans.
"You have to admire him for making a decision like this. It can't have been easy when you're at the top of your game in rugby league.
"I've enjoyed watching him in the NRL and I'm going to enjoy watching him try to make it in a completely different sport with a whole range of different skills.
"It's obviously going to be a huge challenge for him but I'd say he's ready for it.
"He's a powerful athlete in the prime of his career so hopefully he can make it to the big time over there."
Earlier in the day, Hayne said this would be his "one and only chance" to play American football.
It was also the hardest decision he had ever made.
"For the past 24 months I've been thinking about having a crack in the NFL and the last 12 months I've been seriously considering it," he said.
"The reason I didn't make this decision last year was because of the part I played in getting Brad to the club and the way we finished the season. I felt I owed the club one more year and I gave it everything I could.
"I'm excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead, and I've known the deadline has been looming for me to make this call, and I believe the right time is now."
Hayne Plane taking flight to NFL
Parramatta and Kangaroos star Jarryd Hayne has sensationally quit rugby league to pursue a career in the NFL.
Hayne, a co-winner of this season's Dally M medal with Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston, released a statement saying he would "be heading to the United States to pursue an opportunity to play American football".
After being named yesterday in Australia's Four Nations squad for the coming series against New Zealand, England and Samoa, he also said he would be: "withdrawing from the Kangaroos side immediately, and accepting a conditional release from the Eels to make the move overseas".
Part of the release includes an agreement that will only play for Parramatta if he returns to the NRL.
The 26-year-old said it has always been his dream to have a shot at playing in the NFL.
"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."
Hayne travelled to the US in September for the a personal tour of the operations of the Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks, and also the University of Washington Huskies.