Dennis Allen said today that rookie first round pick D.J. Hayden will not play in the Raiders preseason opener this Friday versus the Dallas Cowboys. The rookie cornerback has not yet been cleared for full contact by doctors.
Hayden was chosen with the 12 overall pick in April's draft despite having had a life-threatening heart injury during his senior season at University of Houston. It was thought that he was fully recovered and there would be no cause for concern of future problems. However, just prior to the team's second OTA practice in May, Hayden began feeling ill and was forced to have a second surgery to remove scar tissue that had built up from the initial surgery.
Hayden came into camp sporting a red, no-contact, jersey and after nearly two weeks of camp, he has yet to remove it. It was initially assumed Hayden would be ready to go for camp. And while he has been practicing with his teammates, due to his long recovery and rehab time, team doctors do not feel comfortable clearing him to take hits in a game.
There was a bit of a scare with Hayden today when he came up lame in coverage drills. He put his hand on the back of his leg which usually indicates a hamstring issue and was taken out of drills to work with a trainer but returned minutes later when the team went into team sessions.
"Really the only injury update is D.J. Hayden who's got a little bit of a hamstring," said Dennis Allen. "We'll see where he's at when we come back to work on Wednesday. . . DJ won't play in the game against Dallas so we'll kinda reevaluate where we're at with him after that.
"It's really more of a relation to the surgery he had this off-season as opposed to the heart condition."
Once Hayden is back wearing a regular jersey with his defensive backfield mates, then talk of him playing in the preseason can begin. For now he will just watch from the sideline.