It would have been very surprising if the San Francisco 49ers had not kept Jarryd Hayne for their 2015 NFL season 53-man roster, but head coach Jim Tomsula did try and make it a little bit more nerve-racking than it should have been.
The former Rugby League star from Australia had an impressive preseason, playing very well both as a running back and a punt return man in three of the four games, showing great speed in open space and an ability to get out into the open. Hayne’s preseason total of 175 rushing yards on 25 carries was second in the NFL; his 7.0 yards per carry led the league, and his 163 yards on 10 punt returns ranked third.
I don’t think words really describe how great it is to see so many people support me, all the Aussies. Australia is such a sporting country that we’re very proud of where we’re from. To see so many people get behind me and everyone over here in America obviously just having fun and chasing dreams, I can’t begin to thank them. And I thank everyone back home for their love of sport.
Hayne might not be the most polished of running backs or return men, but he has very good hands and excellent speed, and that’s something good to work with as the 49ers head into a new season with a lot of question marks. Having Hayne won’t make or break their season, but it could make them a bit more fun and interesting to watch considering the amount of talent they’ve lost to free agency, retirements and other more unusual avenues.