SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- We already know that the San Francisco 49ers are not going to announce who their primary punt returner will be in Sunday’s game at the Pittsburgh Steelers, let alone whether Jarryd Hayne will again get the call.
But what if it is the Australian rugby league convert? And what will he have learned from muffing his initial NFL touch? In that instance, he lost the fumble to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night when he attempted to dive forward on a ball with which the wind played tricks.
“If I’m put in that situation again, it’s something I’ve definitely learned from,” Hayne said Thursday. “And if I can’t get a clean catch, then I won’t catch it.”
The Niners, though, like Hayne’s aggressiveness when it comes to fielding and returning punts, or have you forgotten his Willie Mays-like over-the-shoulder grab and ensuing 27-yard return against the Dallas Cowboys in the second preseason game?
“I mean, that’s part of the maturation process of being in this league when you’re a young guy,” said special-teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. “Young players make mistakes sometimes. They’re trying to make plays or trying to make, do the things they were brought here to do, and sometimes they get a little overzealous. But, that’s one of those deals.
“It’ll be all right. It happens to the best of us.”
As well as to the newest of them, too, obviously.