NFL: Jarryd Hayne adapting to Chip Kelly's silent play calls

Jarryd Hayne of the San Francisco 49ers. Photo / Getty Images
Jarryd Hayne of the San Francisco 49ers. Photo / Getty Images

Jarryd Hayne struggled so much while trying to get up to speed with the 49ers playbook in his first season he famously tucked a cheatsheet into his shorts during training.

Those difficulties were supposed to be behind the Australian as he entered year two of his NFL journey but a new challenge has been delivered under new coach Chip Kelly - learning silent play calls.

Under former coach Jim Tomsula, Hayne would be told - verbally - what play was being run ahead of the snap. But Kelly's system involves sideline assistants relaying messages to the players with body movements.

"I laughed to my coach the other day, imagine if I had this playbook last year with all the signals and that," Hayne told "It's silent communication out there ... Chip's system is all silent. Last year it was verbal."

Despite the challenge of making sense of hand movements like the one above, Hayne is having fun during the early stages of preseason.

"The system is awesome. It's so much fun," he said.

"Just to be able to come up with different plays and different concepts. You really need to be on your toes because there's a lot of moving parts with everything we do. And obviously the signals - that's the biggest (difference) from last year.

"Just learning that and being able to move fast (which) is something I'm used to and I've done before. Now it's just about getting the body right and getting rolling and getting it right ... It's been great working for Chip and the guys in the new scheme."


Hayne spoke about Kelly's new system during an appearance on 49ers' radio. The bulk of his 22-minute conversation with team reporter Taylor Price focused on his journey to the NFL and saw Hayne reveal previously untold details about his leap of faith.

"I'm a Christian and my faith is everything to me," he said. "In the Bible where it says about making the impossible, possible and not being comfortable with where you're at and always looking to grow as a person. Every person in the Bible really got put out in the wild and God wanted to test their faith and see what they'd rely on and I felt that for me was to come over here (America).

"And not only test my faith but who I am as a person. The one thing in life that is guaranteed is memories - good, bad or whatever - and I wanted to do something I wouldn't regret. Whether it succeeded or didn't that wasn't what I was worried about, what I was worried about was could I have the courage to make that first step and that to me is success.

"Success is being able to push yourself places you never thought you'd be able to go. I think why people responded to that so well is you can use that in everyday life. It's not just as an athlete, it's as a person in general.

"I had so many reports of 'hey listen, what you did encouraged me to quit my job and chase my dream, what you did encouraged me to lose weight for my family and push myself out of my comfort zone'. All these stories I'd get either on my Facebook or people would tell me really surprised me because I didn't do it for that. I did it to push myself but people were inspired ... and that was really encouraging."


Hayne also outlined the various points in his life which led to his monumental decision. It started by watching the Super Bowl every year from around 2007 before a chance meeting with former Green Bay running back Ryan Grant really sparked his interest.

"I had some pastors from America come down who said 'man, you'd make a great running back, you should come across'," Hayne said.

"Those little things got the ball rolling but it wasn't until I came and watched the Denver vs Seattle rematch of the Super Bowl up in Seattle (in 2014) and I saw their punt returner catching and returning and I said 'I could do that, I could make plays'. I just felt it. I was watching him move and really studying the punt returns and I thought 'you know what, I believe I can do it'."

It was on that same trip to America the former Parramatta Eel finally worked up the courage to quit rugby league.

"A couple of crazy spiritual things happened along the way (but) the biggest moment for me, what set it in stone, was I had deja vu driving through Malibu," Hayne said.

"I turned to my mate, Ray, (because) we'd been speaking about it the whole trip, the whole trip coming back down through Malibu I'd been saying 'Ray, I'm going to do this', trying to pump myself up.

"He went quiet and I said 'Ray, I just had deja vu'. He said 'what do you mean?'. I've dreamt like I've been here before. I know ...

"We had no gameplan. We just went with my faith. Within 24 hours I spoke to my manager, my coach and my CEO and we had a press conference. And they had no idea. It was an incredible time." Hayne's life is only going to get more interesting.


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