NAPA — Clive Walford’s offseason was derailed when he didn’t see a little hump in the road.
Walford, the Raiders’ second-year tight end, injured his knee in an offseason ATV accident seriously enough that it required surgery. It forced him to miss all of organized team activities and the team’s minicamp in June.
For a potential breakout player who also missed time last training camp, it was a disappointing situation to take away so much additional development time.
But Walford initially didn’t think it was that serious.
“Believe it or not, when the accident first happened, I didn’t realize how serious it was until I actually got to the hospital,” Walford said. “I thought maybe I just needed some stitches.”
The full extent of the injury has not be revealed, but surgery was required.
“They told me I was going to be out for a while, so I had to inform the team,” Walford said.
Walford said that went pretty easily, but going through the rehab and missing time was tough. The time is now for him to start making up ground.
“I’m very grateful that I’m able to go out and participate in this camp, because last year I didn’t,” said Walford, who missed the bulk of his rookie year camp with a pair of injuries. “For me and him to establish a great amount of chemistry now, it’ll be great for the season.”
Walford’s doing that by taking the initiative to arrange extra throwing sessions with quarterback Derek Carr. He occasionally took some throws during the offseason from Carr even when he couldn’t practice but is ramping it up in Napa.
“You’ll see him every day we come out to warm up, as soon as he comes out, he comes straight to me and wants to catch from me,” Carr said. “I can’t do it all myself, grabbing him all the time. … He does a really good job of grabbing me and saying, ‘Hey throw to me.’
“That’s the kind of things that we need and that’s how he is.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave reiterated how crucial it is to get Walford back up to speed.
“We missed a lot of time with Clive over the last number of months,” Musgrave said. “It’s good to have him out there again for Derek and the quarterbacks to have a feel for the way he runs his routes. … He has a lot of ability, so we’re looking for him to be a big part of what we do.”