NAPA -– The Raiders reported to training camp on Wednesday afternoon. Most of them, anyway.
D.J. Hayden was a no-show when rookies stepped off the bus at the Napa Valley Marriott, the Raiders home away from home these next few weeks.
That wasn’t a shock. The man still hasn’t signed his contract. Both agent and team have remained silent on negotiations and his health following offseason abdominal surgery, despite the fact that he's few days away from being considered a holdout.
Second-round pick Menelik Watson signed a four-year deal on Wednesday, leaving Hayden as the team’s only unsigned pick.
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As long as the cornerback drafted No. 12 overall signs in time to participate in Friday morning’s opening practice, he’s technically on time. Any later and Hayden falls further behind than he already is.
Hayden missed most of the offseason program due to surgery that removed scar tissue in his abdomen. He hasn’t worked out with the Raiders much and hasn’t taken a hit since a rupturing his inferior vena cava at a University of Houston practice.
He was given a clean bill of health regarding his vascular issue, but it remains uncertain whether Hayden is healthy enough to practice after his offseason surgery or whether it has affected contract negotiations. The NFL rookie wage scale provides little negotiating room even in situations like this, where health is a concern.
The only negotiable issue in the wage scale is “offset language,” which allows a player to be released without receiving the remainder of his rookie contract.
Several requests for comment from Hayden’s agent, Graylan Crain, were not returned.