49ers

Hayne not guaranteed spot on Fiji Olympic team

hayen-fiji.jpg

Hayne not guaranteed spot on Fiji Olympic team

Jarryd Hayne, who stepped away from the 49ers’ 90-man roster to pursue a spot with the Fiji Sevens rugby team in this summer’s Olympic Games, is not guaranteed a spot in Rio de Janeiro.

Not only does Hayne have to win a position on the Fiji rugby sevens team, but he might face an even-more-difficult battle to win clearance from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Richard Ings, who served as the chair of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority from 2006 to ’10, pointed out that World Rugby requires that athletes be in its registered testing pool for at least six months to be eligible to participate in such international competitions as the Olympic Games, which begin Aug. 5.

“Hayne is very likely ineligible," Ings wrote on Twitter.

[RELATED: 49ers' RB Hayne announces retirement from NFL]

“If Jarryd Hayne had been playing in WADA compliant sport he would have grounds to reduce the 6 months. But NFL is PED badlands. No chance.”

However, the leader of Fiji's Olympic Committee said their policies do not require athletes to go through a six-month period before representing the country.

“Every athlete who becomes a squad member and then finally a Team Fiji member is aware that at some stage they could be randomly chosen to be drug tested," FOC secretary general Lorraine Mar told Reuters.

"There is no criteria that they have to be tested a number of times. So that's not a consideration, but the athlete needs to be aware they could be drug tested."

Hayne, 28, the former star in Australia’s National Rugby League, played one season with the 49ers. On Sunday, he announced his decision to abandon his pursuit of playing a second NFL season.

“I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji rugby sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up,” Hayne said in a statement released through the 49ers.

The Fiji national team's coach, Ben Ryan, said Hayne will join the team Monday when Fiji team travels to London for pre-Olympics competition. In February, Hayne posted a photo on Twitter that showed him receiving a personalized jersey from Ryan and the team. Ryan said he had a few conversations with Hayne and followed his career from rugby league to the NFL.

"I have no promises he is going to make the 12, but we will see how he goes,” Ryan said, according to WorldRugby.org. “He will then come into Fijian camp for the Olympic period. It is a huge challenge for Jarryd. . . If he doesn't make it, is just shows how good this Fijian Sevens side is.

"It is a no-lose situation for me. It is a no-lose for Jarryd, either. He gets himself into the possibility of being a part of this journey, and the boys are all going to learn off him as well.”

Twelve players will be chosen for the Fiji Olympic team from a group of 24 athletes invited to training camp in June. There will be 12 teams competing in the Olympics' rugby sevens, which is a shorter version of the standard 15-players-a-side sport.

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Recently, some prominent NBA stars have come out in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, displaying their solidarity in different manners.

The Warriors' Kevin Durant, for instance, donned a black No. 7 jersey to and from a recent game at Oracle Arena, bearing the phrase "#IMWITHKAP" on the chest.

Steph Curry, wearing the same attire, recently posed for a photo with his son Canon.

The Lakers' LeBron James wore a nearly identical jersey getting off the plane when he and Los Angeles made the trip to Oracle to face Golden State earlier this month.

James took his support of Kaepernick a step further when he was asked about Kaepernick's reported settlement with the NFL at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

[RELATED: NFL compensating Colin Kaepernick for not playing football]

If Durant, Curry and James -- or anyone else for that matter -- like the black-and-white look, and want to show further solidarity for Kaepernick, well, they're in luck.

On Wednesday, Nike announced the release of a limited-edition Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey -- the same one James wore as a tease getting off the plane in Oakland. As Kaepernick explained in a tweet, the jersey is dedicated to "those true to themselves on and off the field. Proudly, unapologetically and against all odds."

"We believe Colin Kaepernick is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” a Nike spokesperson told The Undefeated. “The jersey marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin."

The NFL logo is notably absent from the jersey, which should not come as a surprise given Kaepernick's recent litigation with the league. 20 percent of all proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will go to the Know Your Rights Camp he founded, which raises awareness for youth "on higher education, self-empowerment and instruction on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."

So, if you're in the market for a new black-and-white look, or simply want to show more support for Kaepernick, there are certainly worse ways you could spend your money.

49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker

trent-taylor-us.jpg
USATSI

49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker

As a short, slot receiver, Trent Taylor has been compared to All-Pro wideout Wes Welker for his entire life.

Now, Taylor will have the chance to learn from Welker directly, after the 37-year-old reportedly will become one of the newest members of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan's staff.

Taylor didn’t hold back when asked what his thoughts were when he first heard about Welker heading to the Bay Area.

“I thought it was freakin’ sick,” Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s been a baller in the NFL for 10 plus years and it’s always just cool having a guy like that coaching you. A guy with that type of experience and the guy people have compared me to my whole life.”

With only an inch difference in height between the two -- Taylor is 5'8", Welker is 5'9" -- Taylor is more than ready to learn from Welker. Tips from the receiver who led the league in receptions in three different seasons and racked up over 1,000 yards five times will be very valuable.

Even more than Welker’s physicality, Taylor believes his mental approach to the game is even more powerful.

“It’s going to be a cool opportunity to be able to work with him and hear what he has to say to me, what kind of advice he has, and I just know he has that ‘dog mentality’ that you want in a football player," Taylor said. 

“It’s cool to have that in the coaching position, and it will be cool to see the way that he coaches us and the fire that he brings into work every day. I think it’s going to be great.”

While Taylor knows what his new coach is capable of, he can’t wait be in the same room with the five-time Pro Bowler to watch Welker’s own game film.

“I haven’t been able to just sit down and break down his film,” Taylor said. “But I feel like we will have the opportunity to do that. I’ll probably press that subject pretty hard. I feel like he’s going to try to be humble about it but we need to see his film. That’s for sure.”

Welker’s level of productivity is the gold standard for a slot receiver, and that’s the goal for Taylor and the rest of the receivers room. Taylor understands its immense value.

“I think it will be good to be able to ‘learn’ somebody who played the same type of position with the same body type,” Taylor said. “You don’t run into to many guys like that in the NFL. So it will be an interesting perspective to hear from.”

Welker reportedly will be joined by former Cowboys wideout Miles Austin in the receivers room, who was hired as an offensive quality control coach. Taylor appreciates that both coaches are not that far removed from the game, which helps them be even more relatable.

“Two guys who played a long time in the NFL, and haven’t been out of the league for that many years,” Taylor said. “They’re still pretty fresh in it. It’ll be great. I think it’s going to work out great."

[RELATED: Why 49ers can't miss out on Brown or Beckham Jr. this year]

Taylor, however remains inspired by Welker's mental toughness and looks to get everything possible out of his new coach.

"I think he always wanted it more than the guy across from him," Taylor said. "And that’s what made him so great. that’s what makes anybody great. Just having that 'want to' and that fire that you’re never going to stop. That you’re not going to give up."