With only a fraction of the players selected in the first round of the ’09 NFL draft under contract, it comes as little surprise that Darrius Heyward-Bey would be a no-show for his first NFL training camp. For Derrick Burgess, a veteran with one year left on his deal, to skip out on team meetings is surprising.
Heyward-Bey and the Raiders are caught in a holding pattern. The Raiders seem content to let the rest of the top ten picks in the draft set the bar while DHB’s agent awaits the Michael Crabtree saga to unfold.
Heyward-Bey’s hamstring will be spared the exhaustion of the grueling two-a-day practices set to begin on Thursday morning. However, he’ll loose valuable experience and is sure to be grilled by the veterans once he does arrive in camp.
As for Burgess, this would appear to be a power play of sorts. The oft-injured defensive end might be attempting to force the hand of the organization to either open contract talks or to find him a new home in the NFL.
During the off-season, Burgess was rumored to be the subject of trade talks with the New England Patriots. After a deal was never completed, the Raiders signed veteran defensive end Greg Ellis. Now it would seem that Burgess is content to pay the sum of $17,000 for each day of camp he misses in order to secure his future.
Since he led the NFL in sacks in 2005, Burgess’ totals have decreased each year from 16.5 to just 3.5 in 2008.
Tom Cable was reported to have been displeased with the unexcused absence of Burgess but remains hopeful that the team can reach a deal with Heyward-Bey.
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