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Decision looms on Raiders' DJ Hayden

8/19/2014

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- There has been much speculation of whether oft-injured 2013 first-round pick DJ Hayden will start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list because of an injured foot.

Tuesday, Oakland coach Dennis Allen said the team has not decided what to do with Hayden. The team has to make a decision by Aug. 30 when the 53-man roster is set. They can also place Hayden on the PUP next Tuesday when teams are required to pare down to 75 players. If he is placed on the PUP, Hayden will have to miss the first six weeks of the season.

"We're going to see how the rehab process goes over the next few days and get a better feel for exactly when we think he's going to be available," Allen said. "I think you've got to look at are you rushing the guy back, or is he going to be ready. He's not ready right now. Could he be ready in the next few days? That's a potential. If he's not then obviously the reserve/PUP is an option for us."

Hayden was running and cutting on the field Monday. But he was not seen during the 30-minute window media members were allowed on the practice field Tuesday.

Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said he feels for Hayden because he hasn't been able to stay on the practice field. He missed practice time last year because of complications in his recovery from a serious heart issues that ended his 2012 season at Houston. He was then placed on injured reserve after eight games last season because of a sports hernia.

Tarver said the Raiders have high hopes for Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick last year, but he will have to earn his way back to the field once he is cleared to practice.

"I feel for DJ in that the only way to get better at playing football is to play football and he just needs practice reps," Tarver said. "Hopefully, his body allows him to do that and we'll practice him as much as he can and see how far he can go. DJ's going to be a fine football player. There is a time element and as soon as the doctors and everybody say he's ready, then we're excited to get him practice reps. He was explosive in the spring and you could see it starting to happen before his latest one happened. So we expect him to get back to that and we'll practice him as long as it takes. We'll get as many reps as we can with the young man."