Hayden Smith trades Saracens for NFL career
April 4, 2012
Hayden Smith trades Saracens for the NFL%]
Hayden Smith, the Saracens lock, has agreed terms for a switch to the NFL with the New York Jets.
ESPN New York's Rich Cimini reports that the Australian-born second-row, capped 18 times by the US Eagles, has confirmed a three-year contract with the Jets after a workout with the team at the start of the year.
"I've always said that you have to follow your dream," Smith told USA Today Sports. "It's worked out well for me so far but its without a doubt the biggest step that I'll be taking and it's something that I'm very excited about."
Smith moved to the USA in 2002 to play college basketball at Metropolitan State in Denver, quickly switching to rugby and garnering interest from Eagles coach Scott Johnson.
He made his Test bow in 2008 and turned out four times at the Rugby World Cup three years later, having signed for Saracens prior to the 2008-09 Premiership season.
In recent times his first-team opportunities have been limited due to a combination of injuries and the emergence of Mouritz Botha and Steve Borthwick as Sarries' lock combination.
Tim Brewster, Smith's personal coach, confirmed his move on Twitter and later spoke of his aptitude, having groomed him for a career at tight-end.
"I was really amazed at a couple of things," he said. "First, his ability to assimilate all the information I was throwing at him. Football makes sense to the kid. Second, his work ethic off the charts. He's a way above average athlete for the position. I think the kid has an outstanding future in the National Football League."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup