By Stan Bunger

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The pro football world is buzzing about Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne’s debut with the 49ers, and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden is joining the chorus.

Hayne’s NFL debut in Friday’s preseason game in Houston saw him break a 53-yard run from scrimmage and return two punts for 24 yards while returning a kickoff for 33 yards.

Madden told KCBS Monday morning he was impressed with Hayne’s performance. “He doesn’t have as far to go as maybe people think he does,” said Madden.”I was surprised at how natural he looked at everything he did.”

Madden also noted Hayne’s ability to switch the ball from hand to hand to keep it away from defenders and saw the punt returns as the most impressive part of his performance.

Still, can one preseason game really catapult a guy who’s never played American football at any level into the NFL?

Madden wouldn’t bet against it: “If he could be a punt returner and a kickoff returner, play a few other special teams, that would be an easy situation to get a job with.”

 

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