When the 49ers signed former rugby star Jarryd Hayne to an NFL contract, all they knew was that they were getting a good athlete with raw potential. After Saturday night’s preseason debut, the 49ers now know they have a player who looks like he fits in the NFL.
Hayne was outstanding for the 49ers, lining up at running back and carrying five times for 63 yards and also returning one kickoff for 33 yards and two punts for 24 yards.
“It felt a huge weight lifted. I brought a lot of pressure on myself, I wanted to fit in . . . I wanted to go out there and look like an American NFL player and I feel like I did that,” Hayne said. I was really excited and it was big too because we ran a play like that a couple of days before and the coach was on to me just to keep in the crease and to let it open up.”
Colin Kaepernick one of many 49ers who liked what he saw.
“He went out there and played really well. He played fast, had a great run and had a couple of good punt returns, so I think everyone is impressed with what he’s done,” Kaepernick said.
It’s still not a sure thing that Hayne will make the 49ers’ roster. On a team that has running backs Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter and rookie fourth-round pick Mike Davis, Hayne may be only the fifth-best player at his position, which means he’s going to have to keep performing on special teams to make the team. But the preseason debut was enough to give him a real chance.