San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Jarryd Hayne saw his first action in 2 1/2 months on Sunday and came away convinced he can play in the NFL.
"I'm capable of playing at this level," Hayne told reporters after the 32-17 loss at the Detroit Lions. "Confidence in my own ability is something I have a lot of, and to be able to go out there and perform the way I did today, it shows."
An Australian rugby star who earned a spot on the 53-man roster in preseason, Hayne had been in limbo since he was released by the 49ers on Oct. 31 and subsequently signed to their practice squad.
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His numbers Sunday weren't spectacular - Hayne had nine carries for 27 yards and added five receptions for 20 yards. Still, given his lack of experience, it was something to build upon after not playing since Week 6.
"I thought he represented himself well," said San Francisco coach Jim Tomsula, who did criticize Hayne for failing to get beyond the first-down marker on one short pass.
The 49ers' backfield has been depleted by injuries, the latest coming to Shaun Draughn in last week's loss. With DuJuan Harris signing with the team last week, Hayne thought there was a chance he would be promoted from the practice squad.
"I got a lot of work, and for me to get that experience, it's invaluable. I'll remain focused." -@JarrydHayne on his 1st NFL game since Oct.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 27, 2015
"With the amount of reps I got on the (scout) team and kind of being by myself the past couple weeks on the practice squad, it's been huge," Hayne said. "To get that much experience, it's invaluable because I've obviously got so much to catch up on.
"I felt great out there," Hayne added. "There's one or two things I could have done better, but overall I was happy."