The Raiders took the field for their final practice before their ever-important third preseason game today. And once again rookie tight end Clive Walford was not among them according to all media accounts.
Walford has missed all but two practices since the start of training camp on July 30. He had missed the first nine days, returned for two days of practice, played in the first preseason game, and hasn't practiced since.
Walford had been the projected starter and had been working with the first team offense through much of the offseason since the team took him with their round three pick in the draft.
When he returned, he took a backseat to incumbent starter, Mychal Rivera, and at this rate, it could be difficult to take that job back anytime soon.
"Missing Clive is significant for our team, for him personally," said offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
With Walford set to miss the the game this weekend against the Cardinals, he will have just one more chance this preseason when they travel to Seattle next week.
At this point, questions arise about whether he will even be available come the regular season opener. To which Musgrave said "That's hard to answer."
Head coach Jack Del Rio was insistent that there is nothing serious to worry about, but he'll have to excuse those of us who have covered the Raiders for a while when it comes preseason injuries at the tight end position.
David Ausberry was supposed to be the answer at tight end for the past couple years and he could never stay healthy enough to take the job. They finally gave up on him, prompting the drafting of Walford.