Jarryd Hayne's NFL career appeared over almost as soon as it started after being dropped from the San Francisco 49ers squad for Monday's game against the St Louis Rams, but the stars seem to have instantly aligned for Hayne to make a comeback to the team.
Hayne was placed on the waiver list by the 49ers on Sunday, meaning the team released him from his contract and other teams could have a chance at securing Hayne's services.
Despite a rocky opening to the season, where Hayne -- operating at the punt returner position -- made only eight returns and fumbled the ball three times, it was a shock move for the team to cut him at such an early stage in his career move experiment.
However, a string of bad luck -- or, for Hayne, good luck -- in the 49ers game today against the Rams may open the door for the Hayne Plane to land in San Francisco again, as two star players in his positions suffered serious injuries. Hayne's replacement at returner, star running back Reggie Bush, slipped and sustained a suspected torn ACL, a potentially season-ending injury.
Reggie Bush injured after slipping and falling in St. Louis: pic.twitter.com/8yfBLROXB1— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 1, 2015
Fellow running back Mike Davis also suffered an injury, a possibly fractured hand forcing him from the game in the second half. In addition to an earlier injury to another running back, Carlos Hyde, this string of misery means the only healthy running back on the 49ers squad is Kendall Gaskins, the guy promoted from the practice squad as Hayne was dropped.
What we learned from the #49ers Week 8 loss to the St. Louis Rams.November 1, 2015
Gaskins notched just six yards rushing from five attempts in another dismal loss for the 49ers, going down 27-6. The rest of the team didn't fare much better.
Jarryd Hayne in 2015: 8 carries, 25 yards
49ers running backs today: 11 carries, 2 yards— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) November 1, 2015
The poor form of his replacement, plus the freak run of injuries, means Hayne could be in line for a shock return to the squad. Many 49ers reporters are tipping Hayne will slot right back into the squad, or at least their practice squad. He's pretty much the Steven Bradbury of the NFL. Coach Jim Tomsula spoke at a post-match and actually praised Hayne's progress.
"Jarryd Hayne has done everything we’ve asked him to do," the coach said.
At this stage, however, Hayne's destiny is in the hands of rival teams. He could be picked up by another NFL squad, with reports Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions were interested in his signature. We'll find out on Tuesday what the next step in his NFL career is.
Meanwhile, Hayne's jersey has been slashed to almost half-price on the official NFL shop -- from $99.99 to $59.99, another surprise considering his jersey was at one point the best-selling item in the shop.