SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The 49ers now must decide if their Aussie import is ready for prime-time. Jarryd Hayne wrapped up the preseason with the NFL’s highest average yardage per carry (7.0 on 25 rushes) and finished second in average punt return yardage (18.1 yards per return).

The 49ers have until Saturday afternoon (1 P.M. PDT) to cut their roster to 53 players, and Hayne’s breakout preseason marks him as a name to watch as the deadline nears.

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Former Raiders coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden told KCBS Friday morning, “he (Hayne) has to play special teams and he has to be pretty good at it.” In other words: Hayne won’t make the roster just as a punt returner; he’ll have to be able to cover kicks and punts and block in some formations.

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But Madden, who has watched Hayne closely this preseason, went on to say, “One of my main thoughts is: he’s really a football player.”

Madden believes the 49ers are likely to keep Hayne, rather than expose him to waivers which would allow another team to claim him.


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