San Francisco 49ers Rumors: Jarryd Hayne Makes Huge Offseason Improvements, But Will Still Fight For Roster Spot

The San Francisco 49ers could have a massively upgraded Jarryd Hayne returning next year, but the big offseason gains may not guarantee a roster spot for the Australian rugby legend.

Looking to secure a roster spot in what would be his second NFL season, Hayne has reportedly made huge gains in his strength and conditioning this offseason. After spending the past few months in Australia working with personal trainers, Hayne is set to return and begin working with new 49ers coach Chip Kelly.

Hayne’s strength coach, Cato Rutherford, and long-time trainer, Hayden Knowles, have both praised the huge gains the versatile Hayne has made in just a few months.

“It was very obvious to myself and him also when we started working together (this time), he noticed straight away he felt better, stronger, felt more balanced,” Rutherford told Fox Sports Australia. “It felt as though his preparation second time around was a lot more complete and he was walking in knowing a lot better how his body was going to perform. His body was firing a lot better because he also worked on (balance) a lot with his coaches in the States.”

Rutherford added that Hayne has gained a new level of explosiveness, a quality that will be key if he wants to secure a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers.

“One of the big stand out improvements with Jarryd was just his rate of force development, his explosive strength. That had really come a long way and that’s very important for someone that’s playing his position – the ability to go from zero to 100 in a short time period.”

Hayne has gotten big praise from some other sports legends, Knowles added. They were working out with rugby halfback Andrew Johns, who was taken aback by how strong Hayne looked

“Andrew just turned to me and said, ‘Holy s**t, how powerful is he?” Knowles told Fox Sports Australia.

“His (Hayne’s) genetic make-up is all about being powerful and now his training is very suited to that. In his rugby league days he had to spend a lot more time on the endurance of the game.

“I would say he’s much more powerful a year on.”

But the former rugby league star still has a lot of work to do to make the San Francisco 49ers roster. He will be competing with five other players for just three roster spots, and the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows said Hayne will likely be starting at the bottom. Barrows listed Carlos Hyde, Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, and Kendall Gaskins all ahead of Jarryd Hayne.

But Barrows noted that Chip Kelly has a knack for finding unique roles for talented players, and Hayne has a good chance to jump to the top of a muddled roster behind Hyde, the all-but-assured starter.

“A team source, who did not want to go on record because he didn’t have the authority by the 49ers to comment, said recently that Draughn and Harris were the 49ers’ two best runners after Hyde was injured last year,” Barrows noted. “Hyde and Davis are the only draft picks in this group, and because of that Davis will be given every chance to succeed. He was ineffective last year until the season finale,” Barrows added.

The rumors surrounding the San Francisco 49ers and their backfield situation might get clear anytime soon. With Chip Kelly just starting to meet with many players and oversee preseason workouts, it will likely take through the summer and the team’s training camp for Jarryd Hayne to find out just where he stands.

[Picture by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]

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