Jarryd Hayne’s rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t a smashing success, but Chip Kelly is looking forward to coaching the Australian.
According to Michael Chammas of the Sydney Morning Herald, general manager Trent Baalke said while he and Kelly haven’t spent much time discussing specific players, the head coach is “well aware of Jarryd and Jarryd’s story.”
“He’s excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is. We’ll find out in short order who fits and who doesn’t fit.”
San Francisco cut Hayne during the 2015 season, largely because he was not developing as a running back and basically was relegated to punt-return duties.
Unless that player is in-his-prime Devin Hester, no NFL franchise keeps someone who only returns punts and doesn’t contribute in any other capacity.
He slid through waivers and ultimately returned to the active roster, appearing in the final two games of the season. Hayne recorded nine carries for 27 yards and five catches for 20 yards — all career-high marks — against the Detroit Lions in late December.
Kelly will bring a new offensive system to the 49ers, one that might not suit Carlos Hyde. Nevertheless, he will (and should) be the starting running back.
San Francisco needs depth at the position, though.
Hayne’s competition for the reserve role likely will include Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis and a few eventual signees. At returner, Bruce Ellington is back, and Quinton Patton could compete if he re-signs.
Nothing is guaranteed, but another offseason of development and a depth-friendly offensive system bodes well for Hayne’s NFL prospects.