Hayden will start Friday night against Bears

Three and Out: All eyes on Hayden; key players return to practice

Hayden will start Friday night against Bears
August 19, 2013, 6:15 pm
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It felt like a normal practice to me, and it felt good to feel normal again. I’m really excited for Friday.
D.J. Hayden

NAPA – D.J. Hayden’s official Raiders debut will double as his first start.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen announced that decision on Monday afternoon, following the No. 12 overall pick’s first practice in pads.

While he made an interception in 7-on-7 drills, the workout itself proved anticlimactic. Cornerbacks don’t do much hitting until game time.

“It felt like a normal practice to me, and it felt good to feel normal again,” Hayden said. “I’m really excited for Friday.”

 
Hayden doesn’t think much about the vascular injury that’s held him back. Only when he sees the scar on his chest or it comes up in conversation.

Hayden’s been a hot topic while crossing milestones toward recovery. He was allowed to practice early in camp. Then he was cleared for contact and he finally practiced in pads. There’s just one more left, and it’s coming Friday night, shortly after kickoff.

Hayden will start for Tracy Porter -- out with a groin injury – which will give the Raiders a chance to evaluate him against the NFL’s best.

The first unit typically plays three quarters in the third preseason game, but Hayden’s snap count will be determined on the fly.

 
“I haven’t put a number on it yet,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “I anticipate him going out there and starting the game, and we’ll see how he is from a football-shape standpoint. We’ll see what he can do.”