49ers general manager Trent Baalke said newly minted head coach Chip Kelly, and his staff, are entirely familiar with running back Jarryd Hayne, who arrived in the NFL less than a year ago after establishing himself as a household name in the Australian Rugby League. Baalke said Kelly and the new team of coaches are excited to get to work, and see what Hayne might be able to bring in what’s expected to be a reinvigorated offense.
“He’s excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is,” Baalke told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We’ll find out in short order who fits and who doesn’t fit.”
During last year’s preseason, Hayne became an instant star—in four preseason games, he logged 175 total rushing yards, with an impressive average of 7.0 yards-per-carry, and another 35 yards receiving, where he averaged 11.7 yards per reception. Hayne’s presence on the gridiron cooled as quickly as it arrived, and after a series of fumbled punt returns, he was waived by San Francisco. Upon clearing waivers, Hayne was re-upped by the 49ers, and promptly placed on the team’s practice squad, where he remained until the final month of the season in December.
“As he found, it is a much different game, but there is some carry-over, and we look forward to building on what was a solid first year for him,” Baalke said.
San Francisco’s offseason training program is scheduled to take place beginning on April 4, and with all of the chatter surrounding the future of embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Hayne should fine plenty of time in the coming months to display his talents to the new head coach. Even back home in Australia, Hayne is keeping tabs on his football team—upon noticing Baalke’s interview with the Herald, he tweeted, “great article,” and added, “no promise of tomorrow, but I’ll focus on today and do my best for tomorrow.”
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII