It's the start of rugby professional Jarryd Hayne's U.S. Football career, and it may not have gone as well as he had dreamed during training camp. During the preseason Hayne was spectacular, being able to consistently hit the mark on punt returns and mess up defending players. This was what Australia's star player was expecting to do for the 49ers, but the start of the season has been a bit rough.
San Francisco's new recruit started off by making a misjudge of Jeff Locke's kick, but before he could fix his mistake it was already too late. Hayne took the ball right to the stomach, which ended up becoming loose and was recovered by the opposing Vikings in the first few seconds of the contest. This happened right in the first quarter of the game, making it quite a rough start for the new player.
Giving up his professional career in the NRL to become an American football player, you could definitely see how badly the first play affected him. Hayne was seen muttering to himself as he was pulled off the field, and kept his head low. Luckily for Hayne, the game had only just begun and he had three and a half quarters left to pick himself back up.
Jarryd Hayne had another chance to field a Viking's punt, but the play went almost as badly as the first. While Hayne was able to cradle the ball and make it a total of 10 yards before being tackled, but the play was nullified after a penalty flag was thrown down due to Hayne's charge against the kicker.
The 49ers didn't give up on him as Reggie Bush was pulled from the game due to an injury to his calf, which allowed for the Australian athlete to step in and take his place throughout the game. Lining up with quarterback Colin Kaepernick in shotgun formations, he proved that he was an exceptional offensive player after juking around Terence Newman for a seven yard gain during the first pass reception of his career. This wasn't the only play that Hayne made in the game, getting a six foot pass tossed to him as well as a nine foot yard gain off another.
While Hayne struggled with his main role on the team, stepping in as an offensive player seemed to suit him well. With Bush being out for awhile, we may see more opportunities for Hayne to play as an offensive receiver and possibly grow into that position. Despite his bad plays, it's also quite likely that he will continue to block punts for the 49ers as long as he doesn't continue to choke.
Either way, Hayne is surely not out and we can expect to see plenty more plays from him this season. Australian sports fans have their eyes set on him, hoping that things will go a bit better for the star in upcoming games.
The San Francisco 49ers are set to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 20th.