SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU and wire reports) -- The San Francisco 49ers surprised many fans Saturday, by releasing one of its most popular players - former Australian Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne.
However, it may not be the end of the team's relationship with Hayne.
Team officials indicate they hope to sign Hayne on the practice squad, if he clears waivers -- meaning no other NFL team picks him and puts Hayne on their active roster.
The 49ers released Hayne, because they needed a spot on the 53-man roster. The team promoted running back, Kendall Gaskins, from the practice squad.
Gaskins will help replace injured running back, Carlos Hyde, who will miss Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, because of a stress fracture in his left foot.
Hayne signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in March, after he gave up a lucrative rugby career in Australia to take a shot at the NFL.
Hayne made the roster out of training camp and appeared in six preseason and regular season-combined games with the Niners.
He had eight carries for 25 yards and returned eight punts for 76 yards.
Hayne tweeted Saturday afternoon: "Blessed for another test. Thanks for the love TW. Wish my guys all the best against the Rams. if nothing happens Ill be back on Tuesday."