SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For the first time in his nascent NFL career, Australian rugby league convert Jarryd Hayne is inactive for a San Francisco 49ers game as a purportedly healthy scratch for Thursday night’s prime-time game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Hayne had been the 49ers’ primary punt returner, averaging 9.5yards per return, 15th in the NFL. But with Bruce Ellington (calf) and Reggie Bush (calf) both active and capable of returning punts, Hayne was deemed expendable. Especially with starting running back Carlos Hyde (foot) active, too, even as he reportedly told CBS Spotrs he has a stress fracture in his sore left foot,
The 49ers chose to have fourth-round draft pick Mike Davis up as a backup running back rather than Hayne, who has 25 rushing yards on eight carries, as well. Davis has rushed for 20 yards on 15 attempts.
“I guess it’s everything I expected,” Hayne said of his NFL life with the 49ers this week. “You can prepare and you can study as much as you want but obviously, game intensity and game day intensity is different. For me, I've embraced every challenge and I’ve been ready when my name is called upon.
“For me, it’s about going out there and learning and being grateful to get the opportunity to be out there and ... learn the game. You’ve got to remember, it’s just my [sixth] game so, for me, it’s still a learning process. I keep telling you every week I feel more and more comfortable out there.”
Hayne fumbled one of his punt returns last week, though it was recovered by the 49ers, and he also made a fair catch inside the 10-yard line.