NAPA (CBS/AP) — The Oakland Raiders have signed first-round pick cornerback D.J. Hayden to a contract before the first training camp practice.
The team announced the deal on Thursday, assuring that the entire 10-player draft class will be on hand when practice begins Friday.
It still has not been determined whether Hayden will be able to participate in practice right away after he underwent offseason abdominal surgery.
Hayden’s offseason got cut short when he needed surgery in late May to remove scar tissue from the abdominal region. That operation came months after a near-fatal practice injury that ended his college career at Houston early.
Hayden was rushed into surgery last November for a tear of the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart, after a collision in practice. Doctors had to cut through Hayden’s sternum to save him. The injury is 95 percent fatal in the field, according to doctors, and is most commonly associated with high-speed motor vehicle accidents.
The Raiders still selected Hayden 12th overall with their first first-round pick since 2010 after doctors cleared him to resume playing football. Hayden made his return to the field at a three-day rookie minicamp in May and also participated in part of the team’s first week of organized team activities before being sidelined.
The team said at the time of the offseason surgery that Hayden was expected to be back for the start of camp but coach Dennis Allen has not been available to address that topic since the team reported to camp Wednesday.
Hayden is the first first-round pick made by the new regime led by general manager Reggie McKenzie and is being counted on to be a major part of the rebuilding effort for a franchise that has gone 10 straight seasons without a winning record or playoff berth.
Hayden played 22 games at Houston, intercepting six passes that he returned for three touchdowns. He also recovered three fumbles and forced six before his senior season was cut short by the injury.
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