ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The star-crossed rookie season of cornerback D.J. Hayden came to an unceremonious end Wednesday as the Oakland Raiders placed him on season-ending Injured Reserve a day after undergoing sports hernia surgery, coach Dennis Allen said.
Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft out of Houston, initially suffered what was described as a groin injury in practice on Nov. 6, a year to the day after he nearly died on the practice field following a collision that tore a heart valve. Yet so intrigued were the Raiders with Hayden that general manager Reggie McKenzie said he would have used the No. 3 overall choice on Hayden had Oakland not been able to trade down in the draft.
A summer surgery to clean up scar tissue in his abdomen cost Hayden precious OTA time as well as contact reps in training camp, and he did not appear in a game until the preseason finale at the Seattle Seahawks.
Hayden had the typical ups and downs associated with a rookie defensive back, though he was not as impactful a player as a first-round draft choice is expected to be right away.
"I would say he had his ups and downs," Allen said of Hayden. "He had some times where I thought he played really well, and some times where he looked like a rookie out there. But I think for where he's at, for the things that he's had to go through, I was pleased with his progress and now he's got to go through another rehab process and begin to start getting ready for next year.
"It will be a great thing for him to have a full offseason where he can work out, get himself in shape, get bigger, get stronger and get ready for next year."
On the year, Hayden had a "burn rate" of 60.6, according to Stats, Inc., surrendering 23 receptions on 38 targets for 386 yards and three touchdowns. In his last game, against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 3, Hayden was torched to the tune of 139 yards and two touchdowns on three catches, two by Riley Cooper and one by DeSean Jackson.
"I'm just truly blessed," Hayden said three days after that game, before it was revealed he was hurt. "Truly blessed to be living right now. Truly blessed to be in the NFL right now. I'm just truly blessed."
Hayden's bright moment came with his game-sealing end-zone interception of the San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers on Oct. 6.
On Nov. 13, Hayden Tweeted: "Why me"
The Raiders, in a corresponding move, activated second-year linebacker Miles Burris off the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. Burris had been rehabbing from offseason knee surgery.