- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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NAPA, Calif. -- It appears to be a matter of time before Oakland Raiders’ first-round pick D.J. Hayden is cleared for full contact.
He has been relegated to non-contact drills since Oakland opened training camp workouts Friday. Hayden is coming back from a life-threatening heart surgery last November. Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick, had surgery to repair scar tissue in his stomach in the spring.
Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Monday that Hayden is getting close to being able to participate in full contact.
“He’s getting ready to go,” Allen said.
Allen said Hayden will definitely play in the preseason. Oakland starts the preseason Aug. 9 at home against Dallas. Allen said Hayden will, for now, stick to playing outside cornerback. Assuming Hayden stays healthy and continues to make strides, he has a strong chance to start.
In other other Oakland news Monday:
Guard Lucas Nix had to leave practice Monday.
Allen said Jacoby Ford's injury does not appear serious. He has been out for two days. He missed the past year and a half with a foot injury.
Allen said the addition of linebacker Omar Gaither will help a depleted linebacker group. There are several injuries at the position. Gaither practiced extensively Monday after signing with the team earlier in the day.
Defensive tackle Vance Walker was hurt. There is no status on his return.