Jim Tomsula on Jarryd Hayne: 'He's still playing rugby'


Reggie Bush said last month that Jarryd Hayne, the Australian rugby player who signed with the 49ers this offseason, was a virtual lock to make the team.

Bush -- who is close friends with Hayne -- went as far to say that "making the team is actually the least of (Hayne's) worries." We're not sure what that meant, but OK.

Fast forward to last week. Hayne worked out with 49ers running backs in the second phase of the team's offseason program. Once that workout was complete, Hayne jumped in with the rookies and got some more reps.

"Am I thrilled that he's here? Absolutely," 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said, according to The Sacramento Bee. "He's a neat dude. All that stuff's great. He's running around and learning his stuff. He's dedicated and committed. He's a pro. He's been a pro for a long time."

Hayne, 27, took handoffs alongside fourth-round pick Mike Davis under the watch of running backs coach Tom Rathman on Friday. Hayne has also gotten extensive work as a punt returner while Bruce Ellington has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Bush is confident and Tomsula is complimentary, but Hayne's true test begins when full-contact practices commence in July.

"When you watch what we're doing here, he's still playing rugby," Tomsula said. "There are no pads here. He's fielding balls and running around in shorts and a T-shirt."

Translation: Hayne supporters shouldn't get too excited just yet.

Hayne's success in the National Rugby League -- he was one of the league's signature stars -- makes him a particularly interesting player to watch this summer. It's not quite Michael Jordan riding the bus with the Birmingham Barons, but Hayne's attempt to cross over is being watched intently in his native Australia.

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