AUSTRALIAN gridiron offensive coach Paul Manera believes Jarryd Hayne's mental toughness and rugby league fitness regime should give him a fighting chance against some of the best young athletes in the US in their bid to make it with NFL giant San Francisco 49ers.
The former Parramatta and NSW Origin star has 20 weeks to convince the franchise which has won five Super Bowls he is worth a punt after accepting a rookie futures contract with a guaranteed $100,000 payment when the 49ers settle on their 53-man roster in August.
Hayne will have to compete for a spot against Americans who have played the game for most of their lives and are amongst the best athletes in the country.
But Manera said while Hayne had an enormous mountain to climb, he could reach the summit.
"He'll need all the extra help (coaching) he can get because the game is so complicated ... he has so much to learn and so little time," Manera said.
"If he has an edge it is in his conditioning and the fact you have to stay mentally tough for the full 80 minutes."
Hayne pulled on the famous red 49ers cap yesterday as he broke the news of his deal with San Francisco after also being chased by the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers.
"This is a small step in the right direction," Hayne said.
"Mentally, I'm ready to do anything it takes."
The job ahead for Hayne now is to impress the 49ers coaching staff during the coming months as a running back or punt returner.
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