Darrius Heyward-Bey has worked so hard in the offseason to validate his status as the No. 7 pick of the 2009 draft he is at present too tired to do anything about it.
But have no fear. He’ll be rested and ready to explode come Sept. 12 and the regular-season opener in Tennessee.
That’s the company line, and the Raiders are sticking to it. There is no injury.
Is it just me, or does it seem a little odd that the Raiders have a 23-year-old receiver who worked so hard in the offseason he sits out four practices in the middle of training camp for no other reason than he is tired?
Since players for years have worked out in the offseason in order to stay on the field and not off it, what in the name of Jerry Rice is going on here?
“He is fatigued. We wrap him up, we keep him out of things,’’ Cable said. “When it gets to the point where if we push it anymore he might get injured, I’m not going to do that. I backed off.’’
When it was suggested to Cable that Heyward-Bey may have overtrained in the offseason, he said, “Yeah. I think guys do that now, especially with the way the offseason are and as long as they are and all that. He’s OK. I’m just not going to put him a situation where it may get us a negative outcome.’’
In the days preceding Heyward-Bey’s rest period, he had a few sessions where he was almost invisible. While not dropping passes at the rate he did a year ago, Heyward-Bey up to that point had been making the occasional play which had inspired enough confidence from the organization to send an “I told you so” press release.
After signing a few autographs for fans invited to practice, Heyward-Bey said he was, “just a little fatigued. Coach Cable is holding me out a little bit for that. That’s pretty much it.’’
What kind of fatigue, exactly?
“Body, legs, you know just fatigue,’’ Heyward-Bey said. “Doing a lot of running. Receivers, we’re low in numbers anyway. I feel bad for the other guys out there and me missing. But we’re working hard out there, so it takes a toll.’’
Heyward-Bey said he’s not concerned about losing any timing with his quarterbacks, and both he and Cable expect the process to accelerate as the regular season approaches.
But as of now, the old adage of fighting through the pain doesn’t apply to Heyward-Bey.
“You gotta be smart out there. You have to ask yourself, ‘Can I play at the level they want me to play at?,’ ‘’ Heyward-Bey said.
And right now you can’t?
“Right now, we’re being smart about it,’’ Cable said. “You want to get the reps in, but if its’s going to take a toll where I will be out a long time you gotta weigh the pros and cons.’’
With Chaz Schilens still missing more practices than he’s participating in _ he watched again Thursday as the Raiders continued to be “smart’’ with his surgically repaired foot _ it’s not like the projected starting receivers have had lots of time with quarterback Jason Campbell.
“I don’t know if I’m losing (our timing as much as I’m a little worried that what we’ve gained we’re not growing from there,’’ Cable said. “ That’s my only worry. But we’ll be OK. I’m confident in that. I see what they’re doing. I’m just not going to put guys in a position where I don’t have them here in a few weeks.’’
More news and notes from Thursday’s practice:
— Quarterback Charlie Frye underwent a surgical procedure on a ligament in his throwing wrist which will need four to five months of rehabilitation, according to Cable.
Frye was placed on injured reserve, leaving Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Boller and Colt Brennan to compete for three spots. Gradkowski won’t play against the Bears, With Boller entering for Campbell some time in the second quarter and Brennan mopping up.
— Ruled out of the Bears game by Cable are running back Darren McFadden (hamstring), tight end Tony Stewart (ankle), linebacker Sam Williams (concussion), cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring), wide receiver and Paul Hubbard (hamstring).
Cable said he would probably add more to that list, and with Schilens and Heyward-Bey almost certainly being on it.
— McFadden was going through agility drills at what looked like full speed with a trainer and Cable said he expected his running back to be back on the practice field Tuesday.
Richardson’s knee procedure is expected to keep him out two to three weeks, Cable said.
— Eric Butler, recently released by the Rams, was added to the Raiders roster as a tight end. Butler, a practice squad player in St. Louis who has played mostly H-back, was playing tight end Thursday.
— Cable reiterated that he saw all he needed to see against Dallas to tell him the Raiders will be a much improved team physically, and that he has no intention of increasing the amount of hitting in training camp.
“It would be stupid or ridiculous for anyone to say, ‘You need to hit more’ or anything like that,’’ Cable said. “We’ve already proven who we are that way.’’
— Practice updates can be found on my Twitter page.