By Steve Corkran
Friday, July 26th, 2013 at 2:20 pm in Oakland Raiders.
NAPA — First-round draft pick D.J. Hayden still has a ways to go before he can turn it loose all the way. However, he is well enough to be on the field and taking part in every activity at the Raiders training camp.
Hayden was on the non-football-injury list Thursday as a precaution until the Raiders got a chance to gauge Hayden’s progress from a surgery in May. He came off the NFI list after he passed a physical and participated in the Raiders first practice here Friday.
“Yeah, I was active, participating in all the drills, got a couple reps in,” Hayden said. “I feel good.”
He might feel well, but the Raiders aren’t taking any chances with a player that underwent a surgery two months ago to remove scar tissue in his abdominal region, which built up as a result of a surgery last November to repair a ruptured vein.
Therefore, Hayden wore a red, no-contact jersey, just as quarterbacks, kickers and punters do during practice. Coach Dennis Allen said Hayden isn’t limited physically. It’s just prudent to ease Hayden back into things after going without contact for eight months or so.
“When you draft a guy like that, that has the talent that he has and we expect him to be able to help our football team, we want to make sure we’re smart and do the right things in bringing him along, let him get acclimated,” Allen said.
Hayden said he feels as if he’s ready to go full tilt. Yet, he’s going to follow orders until team doctors/trainers give him the green light to crank it up.
Once that happens, Hayden can put that behind him and get about the business of validating the Raiders selection of him with the 12th pick of the NFL draft in April.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Hayden said. “I can’t wait to get that first contact in. Then I can feel relief.”