By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Former Washington Redskins running back Silas Redd has reportedly signed with the Jets. Not those Jets, but instead the Ipswich Jets of the Australian National Rugby League.

Rugby fans know that the NRL is no joke and Redd will likely have a sharp learning curve as he adjusts to playing in the most viewed, most popular and most competitive club rugby league in the world.

If he succeeds, he’ll land somewhere in the mix of two-sport athletes like Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson.

Or maybe he should aspire to be more like Mark Hendrickson or Jarryd Hayne?

Hayne made the jump from the NRL to the NFL in 2014, landing with the San Francisco 49ers and appearing in eight games in 2015. While he fit the mold of an NFL running back on paper, he never quite panned out. He is now back in Australia, playing for the Parramatta Eels of the NRL, and serves as a role model for Redd.

“Jarryd made it to the highest level of the NFL and my goal is to play in the highest level of the NRL, and I am not there yet,” Redd told NRL.com. “I know it is going to be hard work to switch over and play at the highest level, but that is something I am willing to put in the work for.

“I don’t think there is any drop-off in athleticism between the NFL and NRL, and Jarryd was fearless. It was just a whole new game to what he knew and he was able to conquer it. I just hope I can put forth that same effort.”

Redd has his work cut out for him.

During his brief stint in the NFL, all with the Redskins, he showed that he can produce with the ball in his hands, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Unfortunately, he was hampered by an ACL and MCL tear in 2015, followed by two league suspensions for violating the substance abuse policies.

That being said, it sounds like Jets chairman Steve Johnson is thrilled to have him–in a specific sort of way.

“Without a shadow of a doubt I can’t think of a better athlete coming to Australia from another sport to play rugby league in the history of our game,” Johnson told NRL.com. “We spent a long time speaking to people in America about this and running back is the ideal position to transition into rugby league.

“If he is successful it will open up a great opportunity to bring players into the Australian game and potentially grow the game in America.”

 

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