For one glorious moment this felt different, it felt unique.
Jarryd Hayne’s journey from established NRL heavyweight to San Francisco 49ers running back was a narrative straight from a storybook.
The kid from the Western suburbs of Sydney made good, turning from the pot of gold to chase a dream in a far away land, going where few had gone before and where no one from these shores had truly succeeded.
There is an emotional attachment to this because Australians invested in this switch with him.
Even Hamish and Andy had a friend infiltrate the team locker room hours after his first outing in Santa Clara for a quick interview.
The buzz surrounding his involvement in a sport so grand but so distant and foreign appeared to have cracked a glass ceiling out of reach for athletes down under.
Then on May 16, the news leaked that Hayne had “retired” from the NFL effective immediately.
Not because of a career-ending injury, home sickness, an honest one-on-one with the new coaching staff – apparently Jarryd had a new dream!
Playing for the Fiji sevens rugby team at the Rio Olympics was what he wanted all along.
To say this U-turn felt hollow would be an understatement; coming all this way to pack it in within the space of a year.
After all the sacrifices, hurdles and adaptation to a new style of running and performing a team roll, give it away for a short term fix in another foreign sport?
Even Fijian rugby fans are scratching their heads over this one because sevens is not a game that casuals can drop in and perfect.
His first hit out was testament to that.
Critics have come out in force to castigate as quickly as they came out to support him for moving to the NFL, so the fickleness will not be lost on Hayne himself.
This columnist will be no different on that count.
However, unlike the Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau’s of this world – Hayne’s “code switch,” a term that has become commonplace in the 21st Century Australian sporting lexicon, was a path being created by him alone.
Transitioning from rugby league to union or vice versa barely rates a mention, while Folau’s ill-fated time at GWS in the AFL was seen for what it was – a marketing gimmick.
Ultimately when the history books are written and people reflect back on Hayne’s career, the NFL period will be viewed as nothing more than an experiment that he pulled the pin on.
In most cases an element of benefit of the doubt should be awarded, but neither Hayne nor the 49ers franchise gave any indication that 2016 wasn’t a huge opportunity to build on a tough first season and truly establish a spot on the roster.
An opening fumble and long periods on the sidelines was always going to be part of the learning experience.
From everything Hayne uttered in public, it wasn’t a case of him keeping patience with the sport, but the sport keeping patience with him.
He angrily and readily denied constant rumours linking him with a move back to the NRL after those setbacks, outlining that he had come this far, so why back out now?
That degree of personal drive, stubbornness and determination looked genuine, for all intents and purposes.
New 49ers coach Chip Kelly had clearly heard all the hype and wanted to come in with fresh eyes to examine the player.
It would be easy to speculate about conversations had behind closed doors between the pair and in the event that Kelly told him he was a long way down the pecking order, then the “retirement” discussion changes dramatically.
But again, nothing said by either party would lead you to believe this was the case and why would it be?
So that is it, the closure of a short and promising chapter that could have been the start of something special, ending in unceremonious circumstances.
The good news for Australian NFL fans is there is a silver lining.
Last month Stuart Prendergast ran the rule over 2016 NFL Draft picks Lachlan Edwards and Adam Gotis, while a host of other punters are flying the flag, not to mention some promising juniors coming through the College system.
Hayne will surely be picked up back into the rugby league/rugby union gravy train after his quick trip to Rio, a competition that will struggle to get as many headlines over the whole competition as the 49ers get on any given day.
It’s an opportunity lost and a sad decision that he now walks along a path taken by many mercenaries before and no doubt mercenaries to come.
Such a shame; this one felt different.
For one glorious moment.