The New York Jets have been building up their team with adding on Tim Tebow and now they have recruited Hayden Smith, international rugby player, who could be the teams next great tight end.
This isn't the Jet's first rugby-football exchange Leonard Peters, played safety for the New York Jets and Chicago Bears before turning to rugby. Peter's now plays for the USA rugby team and said the physical contact in football definitely helped with the transition to rugby, but the agility was a different story. Peter's told the Las Vegas Sun.
The running in rugby is unbelievable. In football, you run for nine seconds and rest for 30 seconds. In rugby, you run for seven minutes straight.
Smith has also had his time with the US Eagles. Smith is Australian born had played basketball in Denver at Metro State and began playing competitive rugby in 2008 playing for the Denver Barbarians. Smith played second row for the US Eagles in 2009-10 season and also played in four of the USA's group matches in the World Cup this past fall. Smith also played professionally for England. Sports agent Jack Bechta had been working with Smith and asked longtime football coach Tim Bechta to train Smith for football even though he had never played the game before. Bechta explained this client was a rugby player interested in playing football and Brewster had actually met him years before when Smith was playing basketball.
Brewster spent a week in California working with Smith, doing practices two days a week, teaching drills and classroom work about football. Smith got workouts from the Jets as well as the Saints. Brewster said that smith is a fast one time learner and anything he threw at his, Smith was able to pick it up and do it well. If you haven't heard, this week the Jets agreed to a three-year contract with Smith, taking a chance that he can be an NFL star.
With Smiths work ethic and sports background and discipline, he is sure to do well in the NFL. However, with the comparisons of the change in game pace, how will Smith find the transition from rugby to American Football? Other players in the NFL who have played rugby have said that they conditioning they get out of rugby has made them better at football. For someone who has played internationally and at the World Cup the change of pace will definitely be something to adjust to. With Smith's love for sports there is no doubt he is happy getting paid to play, but how much will he miss the game of rugby?