NFL News: 49ers rookie Jarryd Hayne treated like a veteran returner in loss against Green Bay Packers

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
Jarryd Hayne
Jarryd Hayne said he is ready to play as running back for the San Francisco 49ers when the opportunity comes. Reuters/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers rookie Jarryd Hayne was just in his 4th week playing American football, but his skills at punt returning has already threatened other rival teams, treating “Hayne Plane” like a veteran NFL returner.  

Hayne, who appears to have settled into his role as the starting punt returner for the 49ers, was limited in Monday’s 17-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers, with the rookie running back only getting limited touches. The Australian rugby league star only managed a pair of 6-yard punts and a fair catch, while muffling a second-quarter punt. However, it was the Packers who were the culprit for Hayne’s minimal output, with three of the Green Bay’s punts placed out of bounds away from Hayne.

Hayne, who wore an NFL microphone during the game, was frustrated by Packers’ punter Tim Masthay’s strategy after deliberately punting away from the Australian rookie. According to The Guardian, Hayne could be heard complaining on why Masthay did not kick the ball towards him, which the 49ers tight end Vernon Davis answered that it means the former Eel is “dangerous” at returning punts.

"I'm learning and definitely always next to the running backs coach (Tom Rathman) and learning off him, and watching Carlos (Hyde) and Reggie (Bush) and watching them do their thing,” Hayne told the official website of the 49ers . “The best thing I can do is always be there and be ready."

Hayne sprinted for a 37-yard return against the Arizona Cardinals in their Week 3 clash, but the 27-year-old rookie did not get much chance to spark San Francisco’s offense on Monday. Hayne averages 9.3 yards on his six punt return attempts, which is the sixth-best in the NFL so far. His 37-yard return is also the eighth-longest of any NFL punt returner this season.  

After three straight losses, the 49ers will fly to across the country to battle the New York Giants this weekend. Hayne is up for a monumental challenge when he goes head-to-head with fellow Aussie and in-form Giants punter Brad Wing, who, according to coach Tom Coughlin, was a weapon for his side after upsetting the Buffalo Bills 24-10.

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