Editor's note: The video above is from Jan. 20.
INDIANAPOLIS -– In his first year of American football, Jarryd Hayne learned enough to earn a spot on the 49ers’ roster.
New coach Chip Kelly said he is eager to see what kind of improvements Hayne can make in his second year of playing the sport.
“I think it’s pretty amazing just because I know how difficult this game is, and to not have any background in it and then to be able to play at its highest level is really a credit to him in terms of what type of athlete he is,” Kelly said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“He’s one of those guys, you get really excited to see what he can do and what type of jump he can make in Year 2 with a better understanding of how the game is played. But he certainly has a skillset that’s intriguing.”
The 49ers guaranteed Hayne a spot on the practice team when they signed the former Australian rugby league star a year ago. Hayne generated enough buzz during the exhibition season to earn a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster at the beginning of the season.
Hayne spent the first six weeks on the 49ers’ active roster as the team’s punt returner. When the 49ers waived him, no team put in a claim. The 49ers kept him on the practice squad for six weeks before a late-season promotion back to the active roster.
Hayne averaged a team-best 9.5 yards on eight punt returns, demonstrating an innate ability to make the first tackler miss. He also gained 52 yards rushing on 17 attempts for a 3.1-yard average as a rookie. Hayne recently turned 28 years old.