SAN FRANCISCO -- Former Australian Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne's NFL experiment is over, as he announced his retirement Sunday from the San Francisco 49ers in order to join the Fiji Rugby Sevens team for the Rio Olympics.
Hayne says: "I simply could not pass that chance up. The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel very similar to me joining the NFL."
A 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back, the 28-year-old Hayne was a surprise to make the initial 53-man roster out of training camp last year with San Francisco. Playing eight games with one start for the 5-11 Niners, he had 17 carries for 52 yards and six catches for 27 yards while also returning eight punts for 76 yards.
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He joined San Francisco as an undrafted free agent on March 3, 2015 (see full story).
Redskins: Fuller forced to be patient after surgery
ASHBURN, Va. -- Kendall Fuller knows all about dealing with issues out of his control. The Virginia Tech cornerback went under the knife last fall thinking he'd miss only a few weeks with meniscus repair and found out he'd instead be out months after microfracture surgery on his right knee.
After falling from a projected first-round pick to the third round because of the uncertainty, Fuller is still in wait-and-see mode at the Washington Redskins' rookie minicamp. He's at 90 or 95 percent and should be able to get onto the field when OTAs start later this month.
The Redskins are taking the patient approach with Fuller, who they believe can make a difference in his rookie season once healthy.
"He's doing a good job," coach Jay Gruden said Saturday after the team's third rookie minicamp session. "We just want to be a little safer with him and not rush him back. We want to make sure he's good to go."
Fuller was last in a game Sept. 19 and has been playing the waiting game ever since. The Baltimore native is anxious to follow brothers Vincent, Corey and Kyle into the NFL, but rushing back doesn't make any sense (see full story).
Saints: Rankins in good shape, learns fast
METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints first-round draft choice Sheldon Rankins can accept people calling him boring, as long they're referring to the way he spends time away from football.
"I'd use, `laid back,' but whatever word you guys choose to use is fine with me," the 6-foot-1, 299-pound defensive tackle said as Saints rookie camp wound down Saturday. "I'm a real simple, laid-back guy. If I'm not doing anything football related, I'm usually just kind of hanging out, relaxing."
The 12th overall pick doesn't even have much experience with social media, having only recently set up an account with the website Twitter. His account, as of Saturday afternoon, showed that he'd posted a total of eight messages -- all of them football-related.
Indeed, Rankins figures he'll need plenty of rest and minimal off-the-field distractions if he is to meet the Saints' expectations of him. When Rankins was drafted, Saints coach Sean Payton said he viewed his new defensive lineman as versatile enough to play on any down, and in short- or long-yardage situations. They want the former Louisville standout to alternately stuff the run and collapse opposing quarterbacks' pass protection up the middle.
Certainly, that's what the Saints need after ranking second-to-last in the NFL in total defense last season and 25th in the league in sacks with 31 (see full story).