After a nervous two-day wait, Jarryd Hayne has taken a step backwards and will continue his NFL journey at the struggling San Francisco 49ers, where everyone has been put on notice.
The 49ers threw Hayne a lifeline on Monday by signing him to their practice squad just hours after the 31 other NFL clubs opted not pick up the former Australian rugby league star.
But Hayne could soon find himself back playing for the 49ers on game day.
Since Hayne’s axing from the club’s 53-man squad on Saturday, the 49ers’ running back stocks have been decimated by injuries,
Reggie Bush, who also took over Hayne’s punt return duties, is out for the season after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Sunday’s 27-6 loss to the Rams.
Another running back, Mike Davis, will have surgery after breaking his hand against the Rams.
The 49ers’ top running back Carlos Hyde is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot.
Hayne’s re-signing came on a day of high drama for the suffering 49ers, who have lost six of their eight games, are last in the NFC West division and have little hope of making the playoffs.
Coach Jim Tomsula announced every player on the team was not safe, including his $US116 million ($A163 million) quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“We are evaluating everybody,” said Tomsula, who also could be fired.
Soon after the press conference the 49ers announced they had traded fan favourite and longest-serving player, tight end Vernon Davis, to Super Bowl contenders the Denver Broncos for draft picks.
Hayne’s addition to the practice squad comes with a pay cut, but it ensures he can continue to train, learn the game and attempt to erase the fumble and pass protection issues that led to him becoming expendable.
How quickly Hayne will be back in the game-day 46-man squad will depend on whether the 49ers can sign new running backs and how ready they will be to play.
They added one – former Cleveland Brown Shaun Draughn – on Monday, and plan to work out another former Brown, running back Ben Tate, on Tuesday.
They also have Kendall Gaskins, who was elevated on Saturday from the practice squad to take Hayne’s place.
The 49ers like to have four running back options in their 53-man squad and need to settle on a punt returner to replace Bush.
There were rumours the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks could be interested in signing Hayne after he was waived by the 49ers, but it appears his three fumbles in six games and troubles with pass protection as a running back scared off suitors.
The 49ers next play the six-win, two-loss Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.