It's been a rough year or so for the San Francisco 49ers, both on and off the field. The team suffered through a disappointing 8-8 record last season. Then, the turmoil continued throughout this offseason.
Sorry, Niners fans, here's the recap: Multiple players, both current and former, were arrested. Several other players retired or left for other teams. And there was a nasty divorce with former head coach Jim Harbaugh.
But with just two weeks left before the team's regular season opener on Monday Night Football, a possible bright spot has emerged: Jarryd Hayne.
He's an Australian rugby star, who passed up glory in his home country to try to make the 49ers' roster. So far, through just two preseason games, Hayne appears to have a legitimate chance to make the team's 53-man roster, primarily as a punt returner and backup running back. Some of his performances in the preseason (see above) have been spectacular.
The highly decorated Aussie signed with the Niners in March after deciding to try his hand at football. He actually turned down more money -- close to $4.5 million, according to Yahoo Sports -- to come stateside in order to try and prove he could make it in the NFL.
Although he never expressed an intention to those around him about his dream of one day pursuing a career in the NFL, Mortimer said that Hayne's passion for the sport was always evident, whether running mock plays with Krisnan Inu at training or regaling teammates of his exploits playing Madden on the PlayStation.
Watching some of Hayne's rugby highlights, it's clear to see how his skills would translate well to football. Get excited, Niners fans: