ALAMEDA – Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera took a vicious hit from Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin on Sunday that knocked him out of the game.
Rivera was concussed, but the illegal blow didn’t have lasting effects.
Rivera said Monday that he passed through the NFL protocol regarding concussions and that he’s been cleared to practice this week and play Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’m feeling good,” Rivera said. “I just took a shot right there to the head. Basically, they pulled me out of the games for safety precautions. I went home and felt good last night. I woke up this morning feeling normal. I saw the neurologist today, talked to a lot of doctors and they fully cleared me.”
Rivera saw Griffin’s hit on film – that was the final straw that got Griffin suspended one game for repeated violations of illegal hits on defenseless receivers -- and thought it was pretty dramatic.
“The brutal thing about it was my helmet falling off and my head hitting the ground,” Rivera said. “It wasn’t really the hit. The hit was pretty hard to my head but it was more my helmet falling off and hitting the ground.”
Griffin sent Rivera a text message saying he wasn’t trying to harm him.
“He said the hit wasn’t malicious,” Rivera said. “He was just doing his job. I really respected that from him. I hit him back and told him I respected he was just doing his job and I said we’d see each other again in the future.”
Having Rivera back should help quarterback Matt McGloin, already low on receiving options. McGloin has a solid chemistry with Rivera after working with him on the third string during camp. Rivera was was one of McGloin’s receivers during his offseason tryout.
“He’s a good talent and another guy that goes about his business each and every day, works hard, pays attention, does the right things, runs great routes for us,” McGloin said. “He’s a big part of our offense he’s improving each and every week so it’s a big plus for us that he’s going to be playing this week.”
Strange schedule: The Raiders have a compact schedule heading into Thursday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. They conducted an evening walk through practice on Monday. They’ll have a normal session Tuesday and a condensed workout on Wednesday morning before heading to Dallas.
Burnett returns: Weakside linebacker Kevin Burnett was active during Monday's walk through and was listed as limited on the team’s participation report. He missed the end of Sunday’s loss to Tennessee with a quad contusion. He should be able to play on Sunday.
McFadden, Veldheer projected to play: Left tackle Jared Veldheer is expected to play his first game this season against Dallas. He’s missed the season recovering from triceps surgery. Running back Darren McFadden believes he’ll play, although his participation isn’t guaranteed. McFadden would share carries with Rashad Jennings if he can go.
NOTE: The Raiders conducted a non-contact walk-through, meaning the designations are projections of participation in a normal practice.
Did not practice: SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), WR Denarius Moore (shoulder), DE Jason Hunter (foot).
Limited participation: DL Daniel Muir (knee), LB Kevin Burnett (quad), Kaluka Maiava (ribs), CB Mike Jenkins (concussion), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), LB Sio Moore (shoulder), TE Mychal Rivera (concussion).
Injured reserve: CB D.J. Hayden (groin), WR Juron Criner (shoulder), TE David Ausberry (shoulder), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), K Eddie Carmona (leg), G Tony Bergstrom (foot);
Designated to return: LT Jared Veldheer (triceps) (21-day practice window began Nov. 13)