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Jarryd Hayne gets "start", finishes with fewer touches than DuJuan Harris

The Hayne Plane was back in action in Week 16. We take an early look at his performance.

The San Francisco 49ers had another running back shake-up this week, with Shaun Draughn inactive due to a knee injury suffered last week. The injury opened the door for another batch of running backs to carry the load against the Detroit Lions. The team signed DuJuan Harris off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, waived Travaris Cadet, and then promoted Jarryd Hayne to the 53-man roster.

The team did not announce a starter before the game, instead putting together a committee approach. Jarryd Hayne got the first carry of the group, and finished with nine rushes for 27 yards, and five receptions for 20 yards. DuJuan Harris got the second running back carry, and finished the game with 11 rushes for 73 yards and one reception for 11 yards. Kendall Gaskins had two rushes for 12 yards.

Hayne had a couple nice runs in the mix, but DuJuan Harris was the more impressive running back on Sunday. Of course, as Jim Tomsula has said (something actually reasonably accurate from him!), Hayne's best chance to improve is getting work. His time on the practice squad was great for improving his general football knowledge and ability, but getting snaps in games is how he will improve as a running back.

The 49ers have one game left, and my guess is Hayne will be up for that one as well. We will need to keep track of Shaun Draughn's name on the injury report, but I suspect he does not play the final game. We'll get some more details on this, but if Hayne is on the 53-man roster to close out the season, the team would not have to deal with offering him a reserve/future contract. Hayne likely signed a new two-year contract when he was promoted to the 53-man roster, but even if he did not, he would be an exclusive rights free agent given his lack of accrued NFL seasons. Either way, he would not hit free agency if the 49ers keep him on the 53-man roster next week and into the offseason.