RWU HQ – San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne is making a good first impression.
“Am I thrilled that he’s here? Absolutely,” San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “He’s a neat dude. All that stuff’s great. He’s running around and learning his stuff. He’s dedicated and committed. He’s a pro. He’s been a pro for a long time.”
Sure the 49ers have just started their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and are yet to put pads on, but it’s still a very good sign.
Even though the former NRL star has a bit of an uphill battle to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster, Hayne has made the most of his opportunities so far.
Not only has the dual-sport athlete been taking handoffs with the running backs, but Hayne has also shined in the return game. He’s stolen the show during his punt return reps with Bruce Ellington, last year’s starter, on the sideline with a hamstring strain.
“Did you see him catching those punts?” Tomsula said. “It’s a little easier to catch a football than a rugby ball. The wind catches a rugby ball, that thing’s zig-zagging all over the place.”
And if you’re looking for more proof that Hayne is standing out so far this offseason, just head over to 49ers.com. In a post on Thursday, 49ers.com senior reporter Taylor Rice noted Hanye’s performance as one of his “18 Observations from 49ers Thursday OTA Session”. The former Parramatta Eel came in at No. 12.
“Australian rugby league import Jarryd Hayne caught three short passes out of the backfield in the red-zone period. For a beginning football player, Hayne was able to demonstrate soft hands and solid route-running skills,” Rice wrote.
If Hayne can continue his early success when the pads come on in the summer, he’ll have no problem locking up a spot on the 49ers’ roster. Heck, he has a shot to be active on game day.
“When you watch what we’re doing here, he’s still playing rugby,” said the first-year head coach. “There are no pads here. He’s fielding balls and running around in shorts and a t-shirt.”
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