D.J. Hayden to begin season on PUP list

The Raiders wanted desperately for cornerback D.J. Hayden to start Week 1 after he missed nearly half of his 2013 rookie season.

The team confirmed Tuesday that the 12th overall pick of the 2013 draft will be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and be out at least six games.

Allen had noted that he’d seen improvement in Hayden, who underwent a surgical procedure on his right foot during organized team activities in May.

Hayden’s injury history — nearly dying from a heart injury in a college practice, then sustaining a sports hernia during a game against the Eagles last year — is something some pundits and fans have picked on.

During a press conference Monday, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told reporters the decision would come down to the wire:

“Well, we’re going to push it all the way up until the deadline, until we find out exactly where he is.
We’ll wait and see what we have to do on that.”

Hayden recorded one interception last season, in a crucial moment of Week 5, when the Raiders hosted the Chargers.

On an inside slant to receiver Keenan Allen, Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers hesitated long enough for Hayden to get the drop on the route, and pick it off in the end zone.

Had Hayden not gotten the pick, or a pass defensed, the Chargers would have won in the final seconds.

With Hayden placed on the PUP list, the Raiders would be able to roster an extra player until he is ready to return. Cornerbacks currently on the Raiders roster bubble are Nieko Thorpe and Chance Casey.

Cornerback Larry Asante was waived by Oakland Tuesday, as well. The team finalized their first round of cuts Tuesday, with the final reduction to 53 players due Saturday afternoon.


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