The New York Jets have signed Australian rugby player Hayden Smith as a tight end prospect according to his personal coach Tim Brewster Hayden. Though Australian-born, Smith has been representing the United States Rugby team of late, including in the World Cup, and has also played rugby professionally in England. He has also previously played basketball in the US for a Division 2 college in Denver, and at 6”7, 240 pounds, is considered a fantastic, adaptable athletic specimen.
The never-far-from-news Jets have had quite an off-season since missing the playoffs this year. Their marquee signing, for those who somehow missed the surrounding circus, was arguably the most polarizing man in football, former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. While Tebow’s introduction (and ensuing 35 minute press conference) as a backup QB to the recently re-signed Mark Sanchez is certainly noteworthy, it is a much more low-key signing today that will raise the attention of our Aussie friends back home and in the US.
Smith represents another Australian link to the Jets, who had former Geelong player Ben Graham as their punter from 2005-2007, and former Collingwood and Carlton Ruckman Chris Bryan as a member of their squad for part of the 2011-12 preseason.
We will continue to track the progress of Hayden and all of the Aussies in the National Football League this year, so stay tuned to Ustralian.com!