Monday marked the fourth straight day D.J. Hayden donned a red “No Contact” jersey at Raiders Training Camp as the team employed a cautious approach to easing Hayden into action after his near death experience during a collision with a University of Houston teammate during a practice last season.
After undergoing offseason surgery to remove scar tissue stemming from thew rupturing of his vena cava, Hayden wasn’t cleared for the contact at the start of camp even after he signed a contract with offset language taking the Raiders off the hook for his rookie contract if he can’t make the Raiders roster due to his injuries.
Coach Dennis Allen has been reluctant to talk about Raiders injuries so far at camp in Napa so media and fans have been left in the dark about the status of several key players including Hayden. After Monday’s practice Allen finally broke his silence on Hayden’s preseason status.
#Raiders Dennis Allen said rookie DJ Hayden will definitely play in the preseason.
— Bill Williamson (@espn_afcwest) July 30, 2013
Hayden has been taking reps with the starters throughout the first week of camp and is looking more and more like the favorite to earn the second cornerback spot in Oakland this season. A player the Raiders had enough faith in to take with the No. 3 pick before trading down to No. 12, Hayden was a force at corner while in college before his tragic injury. Hayden appears to be the total package of tackling, coverage, and speed that you would want to see in a corner and Allen feels that Hayden is coming along well enough that he will be a lock to be ready in time for the preseason.
It is an encouraging sign for Raider fans to hear as Hayden and third round pick Sio Moore could be potential cornerstones of the Raiders defense for years to come based on their college play and performances at training camp. Allen let everyone take a sigh of relief as we all now know that Hayden will be ready in time to get some experience under his feet in the preseason.