One hurdle down, one big one to go.
That’s what Jarryd Hayne has left in front of him.
The roster deadlines for NFL teams are starting to roll in, and today represents the first wave of cuts as teams pare down their pre-season lists to fit the 53-man requirements for regular season play.
The San Francisco 49ers announced the waiving of 10 players as their list is cut down to 75, and as expected, Hayne’s name was not among those let go.
Whilst it seemed almost a certainty that Hayne would at least make it this far, today’s the first real outward indication that the 49ers organisation sees at least *something* in the man referred to by US commentators as “the story of the pre-season in professional football.” Particularly given that head coach Jim Tomsula has remained staunch in his attempts to hose down the hype that threatens to steamroll out of control each time Hayne returns a punt on-field.
Of those cut today by the 49ers, the defence and receiving core took the brunt of the hit. Most notably, fellow crossover athlete Lawrence Okoye – a former British discus champion – was among those waived by the 49ers.
However, the Running Back depth chart remains unchanged and overstocked, meaning the 49ers are yet to make (or at least confirm) any final selection over who gets the final spot on the RB list for season 2015 – which by all accounts is a two horse race between the very green but phenomenal Hayne, and the reliable-but-injured Kendall Hunter.
The 49ers now have one final pre-season game against the San Diego Chargers, scheduled for Friday morning Australian time, before the final 53-man roster is announced on Sunday.
Meanwhile, after the 49ers official merchandise store reported trouble keeping up with demand for custom-made Hayne jerseys late last week – with Nike called in to start preliminary measures for mass-production in the event he makes the roster – the store has now begun selling Hayne’s red number 38 jersey off the rack.
Ahead of an expected rush of demand on gameday at Levi’s Stadium later this week, the store has begun pre-making Hayne jerseys, which are now hanging up on display next to those of star quarterback Colin Kaepernick, according to The Daily Telegraph.
It goes without saying, but this is a bloody big week for the Sydney boy.
Photo: Doug Pensinger via Getty Images.