Jarryd Hayne has been branded a “gimmick” by a long-time San Francisco 49ers player, who was asked if the benched Aussie was being “phased out”.

Joe Nedney - the Niners' kicker from 2005-2010 and a 15-year, eight-team NFL veteran - said the struggling 49ers were right to bench Hayne.

He said the NRL superstar had not lived up to his early promise and had not yet shown the versatility to continually deserve a 46-man roster spot on game day.

The criticism was not limited to Nedney, with 49ers offensive coach Geep Chryst also spelling out a shortcoming of Hayne's at his Friday (AEDT) press conference.

With the Niners diabolical on pass protection for embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Chryst said it was a part of the game Hayne had struggled to understand.

“That's the hardest thing for rookies,” Chryst said.

“We've heard that for running backs coming in, a guy like a Jarryd Hayne. That's really hard for him to understand, all the subtleties with the blitz pick-up and all the protection.”

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