49ers rookie Hayne reiterates apology for offensive comments
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) On the opening day of his first NFL training camp, former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne reiterated how sorry he is for offensive comments last month about Jews that drew criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and others.
''Obviously I addressed it and obviously deeply sad if I hurt anybody,'' Hayne said Saturday after previously apologizing while back home in July. ''The other way I addressed it was it's something I was very apologetic about.''
In two Tweets that were later deleted, Hayne wrote: ''Jesus wanted to help people but was killed by his own people,'' and, ''The Jews were the people who took him to the Romans n forced them to give the order because they couldn't.''
Hayne and the San Francisco 49ers were gearing up for a night practice Saturday at Levi's Stadium, their first under new coach Jim Tomsula. The rookie running back and kick returner is trying to win a spot on San Francisco's 53-man roster out of camp in what is sure to be a daunting transition to the pace and hard-hitting nature of the NFL.
The 27-year-old Hayne underwent minor foot surgery when he went back home after the team's mandatory June minicamp.
''It went really well. The surgeon in Australia did a great job,'' Hayne said. ''I think it was the recovery that hurt more than anything. It just put me on the ground for about three weeks.''
He hasn't even taken his first NFL hit yet. That will be next week once the pads are on.
''I'd rather get hit hard and learn from that,'' he said. ''For me it's not about making mistakes, it's about learning from them.''
Hayne spent the past nine years - from 2006-14 - with the Parramatta Eels of the Australian National Rugby League before giving up that career to chase a new, drastically different one across the globe.
He has already sought guidance from second-year running back and camp roommate Carlos Hyde about how to pick up a linebacker coming at him.
''Jarryd's a real cool guy,'' said Hyde, always eager to listen to Hayne's stories from back home. ''I'm nowhere as big as he is in Australia. I'm looking at Jarryd as if he's a superstar. ... All you hear about him is great things in Australia.''
Tomsula watched Hayne make strides during the offseason program, picking up his speed on the field after a slow start. There also has been lots of communication with running backs coach Tom Rathman.
''The guy's a, he's a world-class athlete,'' Tomsula said.
Hayne isn't about to predict where he might fit in on a team that missed the playoffs for the first time in four years at 8-8. He said his last goodbyes during his recent trip to Australia, not to mention having his last tastes of his favorite coffee he can't get here.
''I'm feeling great to be able to run with no pain,'' he said. ''I had to pretty much wear a massive pad under my foot for the last month of OTAs. Stepping and running wasn't that comfortable.''
From the other side of the ball, new Niners defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is rooting for Hayne.
''He's a rookie-plus, so every day he's learning,'' Mangini said. ''He is a determined human being.''
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