NFL News: Jarryd Hayne could have limited role for San Francisco 49ers, says Jim Tomsula

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
Jim Tomsula
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said he was very happy with Jarryd Hayne’s NFL debut. Reuters/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jarryd Hayne has officially completed his road to NFL earlier this week, successfully making it into the San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man roster. However, the 49ers coach Jim Tomsula and special teams coach Thomas McGaughey hinted that Hayne’s much-anticipated regular season debut could be delayed.

Hayne impressed in his preseason stint with the 49ers, turning heads with his natural skills in catching and returning punts. While Hayne is considered a lock to play in San Francisco’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, Tomsula and McGaughey dropped several hints the team will not feature the Australian rugby league star.

Tomsula pointed out that Hayne’s status as a rookie will be monitored by the club, but the Australian sensation’s development will be the 49ers’ focus. Tomsula also explained why he moderates “Haynemania,” saying that while Hayne did a terrific job to make it into the NFL, the former Eel has not achieved anything yet, but the opportunity to be in the locker room.

"In Jarryd's situation, just like everybody that is a first year player here, you're in game preparation now," Tomsula said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

McGaughey, on the other hand, asserted that San Francisco must keep everything in perspective and understand that Hayne had only played preseason football. He said Hayne is still a rookie in NFL, and that reason could be enough to limit the 49ers rookie’s role in the club’s first game of the regular season.

However, according to Fox Sports, Hayne’s progression to third place on the 49ers’ depth chart for running back suggests he is set to make his NFL debut in week 1. The report suggested that San Francisco is expected to play three running backs in their 46-man squad against the Vikings, and with Hayne ahead of Mike Davis in the unofficial depth chart list, the 27-year-old Aussie could see action on the field.

Conor Orr, writer for NFL’s official website, also believes Tomsula should take the chance to play Hayne for the 49ers’ opening game. Orr said Tomsula would have almost nothing to lose if he gives Hayne playing time, and would also legitimise the team for keeping a player like Hayne on the roster for special teams use only.

“It would make little sense not to at least give him a shot. The 49ers are a team that needs to thrive on new energy after such a melancholic offseason, and Hayne provides them with a fresh perspective on a punt return game that has been looked at the same way for nearly a decade now,” Orr wrote.

Tomsula might be playing mind games with NFL rivals, but the 49ers appears to be evidently bracing their fans that Hayne won’t play for the 49ers anytime soon.

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