Jarryd Hayne in impressive comeback with 49ers
Jarryd Hayne has had the best game of his NFL regular season career, making a strong fist of his return to NFL action this morning.
The former league star had a career-high 27 rushing yards playing as running back for the San Francisco 49ers against the Detroit Lions, including a career-long 11 yard rush.
He also had 20 receiving yards, showing some versatility out of the backfield for the beleaguered 49ers.
The performance the best of his short and interrupted career with the 49ers who are coming to the end of a poor season, and lost again today, with the Lions taking out a 32-17 victory.
Hayne rushed nine times for his 27 yard day, and also caught five passes for twenty yards, catching all but one of his targets, some of which came when Detroit were in a prevent defence at the end of the game.
However, a three yards per carry average is poor, and with sky-high injury rates meaning that a huge array of back-up and practice squad players are being given significant roles, Hayne's performance is no more than a promising sign after a shaky start to his career.
Fellow running back DaJuan Harris was a standout for the 49ers, rushing for 73 yards on just 11 carries.
Hayne was not asked to return punts, with young wide receiver Bruce Ellington getting that role.
Hayne was dropped from the squad in late October and special teams co-ordinator Thomas McGaughey recently said he "needs to learn how to play football" and "it just didn't work out".
To make room for his promotion, the team placed guard Alex Boone (knee) on injured reserve.
Hayne captivated the NFL - and electrified his native Australia - during the preseason when he made several explosive plays at running back and especially punt returner.
He didn't get that kind of reception when the regular-season began, however. Hayne flubbed three punts - losing one - over the first six games, although he did finish with a solid, 9.5-yard average on returns.
Hayne was a star in Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) but a novice at NFL football. As a result, he earned only few snaps at running back, carrying the ball eight times for 25 yards before today's performance.
The 49ers' injuries at the position gave him another chance.
The team already has lost starter Carlos Hyde (foot) and top backup Reggie Bush (knee) for the season. Replacement Shaun Draughn, who has started the last six games, is dealing with a knee injury while rookie Mike Davis (hand) cannot rejoin the team until next week.
The 49ers will have the rights to Hayne for the 2016 season if he is on their active roster after Week 17. If not, they are likely to offer him a future/reserve contract that, if signed, also would make him a 49er when the new season gets underway. Hayne said last week that he's made significant strides in the sport and that he's eager to return to the NFL next season.