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49ers in turmoil as Hayne makes return

Sport

 When Jarryd Hayne returns to the San Francisco 49ers’ headquarters to take his place on the practice squad there will be new running backs, a new starting quarterback and plenty of questions.

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The one-time regular playoff NFL team, a winner of five Super Bowls, is in turmoil.

They have been devastated by injuries, lost six of eight games, are last in the NFC West division and every player, coach and executive is in danger of losing their job.

Soon after head coach Jim Tomsula told reporters on Tuesday no player was safe he broke the news to $US114 million ($A160 million) quarterback Colin Kaepernick he was being benched.

Back-up Blaine Gabbert will start against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers also traded their longest-serving player Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos for draft picks.

Nothing is certain with the sinking 49ers.

That includes whether Tomsula, now that their season is dead and the team is officially in rebuilding mode, might take a chance on the Australian and give him the match practice he needs.

Hayne is scheduled to return to the 49ers’ facility on Wednesday, Australian time.

His potential elevation to the 53-man squad took a hit with the 49ers signing two free agent running backs in the past 24 hours, Pierre Thomas, formerly with the New Orleans Saints, and Shaun Draughn, a journeyman with stops at seven NFL teams.

They will fill the running back holes left by Reggie Bush, who suffered a season-ending medial collateral ligament tear in his left knee, Mike Davis who will have surgery on a broken hand and Carlos Hyde, who has a stress fracture in his foot.

Hayne’s great hope of returning to the 49ers’ game day squad is at punt returner.

The 49ers haven’t said who would replace Bush as punt returner, although kick returners Bruce Ellington or DeAndrew White are the likely candidates.

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