DJ Hayden has been cleared for contact. The doctors say he is healthy. Reggie McKenzie agrees, so much so he put his professional reputation on the line by drafting him. But is DJ Hayden as confident?
The psychological aspect of recovery is the most challenging. It takes time to regain confidence in a compromised body part. Is Josh Cribbs still running on a bad wheel or is he simply unsure of his ability to let it all go? As fans, we can never be sure. Perhaps Cribbs is subconsciously unsure himself.
The case is not so simple with Hayden. This is not an issue of re-tearing an ACL or popping a shoulder back out of socket. Given the traumatic nature of his injury, a re-occurrence will likely cost him his life. It was a miracle he survived in the first place.
The odds are long against Hayden making an immediate impact, if he ever does. The only way to maximize potential at the highest level is to turn off the conscience and play with unadulterated passion. It is hard to believe Hayden will be thinking solely about defending the opposition the next time he competes.