Oakland Raiders rookie first-round cornerback D.J. Hayden has been cleared for contact and will be allowed to practice with no restrictions.
Hayden suffered a serious heart injury last November.
Hayden nearly died last year and had to undergo emergency surgery when he tore his inferior vena cava, the large vein that sends blood to the lower half of the body from the heart. The injury is commonly associated with car accidents.
The Raiders need Hayden to get on the field with cornerback Tracy Porter out for at least a week with a groin injury.
“He's gone through a lot,” coach Dennis Allen said of Hayden. “It will be good to get him in a game situation and let him get out there and play. We brought him to New Orleans with us this week. We let him go through the pregame warm-up just to try to get that feel about being back out on the field again. He's anxious and excited about getting an opportunity to play this week.”
Obviously, nobody knows how he's going to respond when that happens. He's been very good as far as practice has been concerned. We're having to hold him back. He wants to do more and do more. From that standpoint I think he has the right mindset going into this thing. I think it will be a great opportunity for him to go out there and play this week and get his first game action under his belt.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.