Chip Kelly “excited to get his hands on” Jarryd Hayne

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Heading into the 2015 season, there was a lot of attention paid to 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne as he made the transition from rugby to the NFL with a flourish during the preseason.

Things didn’t go quite so well in the regular season. Hayne fumbled on a punt return in the season opener, had trouble hanging onto the ball in the ensuing weeks and got waived in midseason. He landed on the practice squad, but returned for the final two games of the season before a coaching change made for a different landscape with the 49ers.

It may not be a bad one for Hayne, however. General Manager Trent Baalke said that Chip Kelly is looking forward to seeing him in action and that expects to see a big improvement from the Australian now that he has a year of experience in the league.

“We haven’t spent a ton of time speaking about individual players on a roster yet but I’ll tell you he’s well aware of Jarryd and Jarryd’s story, as is everyone in the National Football League by now,” Baalke said, via the Sydney Morning Herald. “He’s excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is. We’ll find out in short order who fits and who doesn’t fit.”

If Carlos Hyde is healthy, he’s likely to be the top running back with the 49ers in 2016. Hayne is one of several players that will be competing for spots behind him in a brand new 49ers offense.