Baalke: 49ers' Kelly ‘excited to get his hands on' Hayne


Editor's Note: The above video is from a media session on Oct. 20, 2015.

Jarryd Hayne's introduction to the NFL started off promising with flashes of brilliance in the preseason.

But an inability to pick up the scheme and a number of fumbles led to the 49ers deactivating him before their game against Seattle on Oct. 22. He went unclaimed on waivers the following week and was signed to San Francisco's practice squad.

When the 49ers placed guard Alex Boone on injured reserve on Dec. 26, Hayne was promoted to the active roster. That day, he was signed to a three-year contract through 2017. In eight games, Hayne carried the ball 17 times for 52 yards, caught six passes for 27 yards and returned eight punts for 76 yards.

But with Chip Kelly as the 49ers' new head coach, where does that leave the former National Rugby League star? Does he have a spot in Kelly's fast-paced offense?

General Manager Trent Baalke addressed Hayne past, present and future with the 49ers in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald this weekend.

Baalke on Hayne's turbulent rookie season:

"All the decisions we made from a roster standpoint, we made collectively with the personnel and the coaching staff sitting down and trying to make a decision on what's best for the football team in that period of time."

"In that point in time, we just felt he needed more time, he needed more seasoning and we needed some guys on the 53 that could be on the 46 that would give us the best chance of winning football games."

"Any time you waive a player during the season, you risk the chance of losing them. That's the way this business is set up," Baalke said.

"So you try and do the best you can in making those decisions and look at it from an outsider's perspective and say to yourself 'ok, what is the likelihood of this guy getting claimed'.

"I think that there were enough signs that he was still ways away in respect to development, that we felt there was a good chance he would make it through waivers and we'd be able to put him on our practice."

Baalke on what the 2016 offseason means to Hayne's development:

"I think this off-season will be huge," Baalke said. "They always say the biggest jump for a player is between year one and year two. We expect the same for Jarryd. He knows what it takes now, he knows what he needs to work on, and I know he is focused on working on those things this off-season."

Baalke on if Hayne fits somewhere in Chip Kelly's scheme:

"​We haven't spent a ton of time speaking about individual players on a roster yet but I'll tell you he's well aware of Jarryd and Jarryd's story, as is everyone in the National Football League by now.

"He's excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is. We'll find out in short order who fits and who doesn't fit."

Baalke on why the 49ers signed several free agent running backs while Hayne was on the practice squad:

"If you look at the transactions we made, we brought in guys that had four or five years' experience in the National Football League," Baalke said.

"We just felt at the point in time, they were going to give us the best opportunities to win. It was nothing against Jarryd, I think Jarryd understands where he is at. It will be a valuable experience for him. He got to move up late in the season and took advantage of some of the opportunities he was given.

"If you ask him, he will tell you it was a great learning experience. The game is different, there are aspects of the game that take a little bit longer to prepare for then maybe some of the other areas. It's a process and I think he's done a nice job."

Baalke on whether or not the 49ers have made any promises to Hayne regarding his future:

"The promise we made him has been fulfilled, that he would get every opportunity to make this football team," Baalke said.

"We like Jarryd, we like him a lot. He's an excellent teammate, the guys love him, he's a talented athlete. Now can he make the transition and make the big jump to put himself in a position to be on the 53 – hopefully the 46? We're going to find out once we get out the balls and let these guys start playing again. But he's a guy we love having around that's for sure."

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