Oakland Raiders first-round pick D.J. Hayden has not played in a football game in a year — after suffering a near-fatal torn inferior vena cava in his heart — and he has been itching to get back in to full practices. Hayden has been wearing the red no contact jersey since undergoing surgery in May to remove scar tissue from his chest, but he will finally have the opportunity to put on the black and join his teammates in a full contact practice after the team cleared him over the weekend.
There are still plenty of questions about how Hayden’s body will react to taking a hit when he returns to live action, but Raiders head coach Dennis Allen says that Hayden is “anxious and excited” to get back on the field in full swing.
“Nobody knows how he’s going to respond when that happens,” Allen said, via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “We’ve had to hold him back at practice, because he wants to do everything. From that standpoint, I think he has a great mindset going into this thing. I think it’ll be great for him to get that first team appearance under his belt.”
With the recent injury to Tracy Porter, the clearance of Hayden couldn’t come at a better time for the team.
The Raiders have one of the worst rosters in the league, so they need to find any glimmer of talent where they can. Hopefully their first-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft can provide them with a spark in the secondary.