ALAMEDA – D.J. Hayden felt great after his Raiders debut.
The Raiders first-round draft pick spoke for the first time since playing Friday’s exhibition against Chicago, his first game since rupturing a blood vessel at a University of Houston practice.
He was no worse for the wear, and happy to have made it through unscathed.
“It felt awesome just to get out there and relieve some stress I had,” Hayden said after Sunday’s practice.
As always, Hayden was in a good mood. He expressed dislike for the Oakland Coliseum field dirt. He said he was happy the extra padding around his chest didn’t make him look fat.
“They taped my jersey down a bit,” Hayden said, “so I still looked good out there.”
Hayden looked good at times against the Bears, inexperienced at others. He was targeted five times and allowed just two receptions, although he was out of place at times and took some poor paths to the ball.
“There were some emotions when I took the field, but I just have to get them out of the way,” Hayden said. “But I did think it was a positive step forward. I have a game under my belt, but we have a long way to go.”
Watson in at left tackle: Allen said rookie Menelik Watson will start at left tackle against the Seahawks in the preseason finale. That game provides one chance to evaluate the second-round pick, who missed nearly all of training camp with a calf injury. It will determine whether Watson is an upgrade over veteran Alex Barron, who has started since Jared Veldheer was ruled out with a triceps injury.
Maiava still out: Outside linebacker Kaluka Maiava has practiced just once as a Raider. The free-agent acquisition injured his ankle the first day of training camp and has been out since, meaning the Raiders haven’t evaluated the veteran in their scheme.
There’s no timetable for him to return, meaning they might make a decision on his future with the team before he has a chance to play. The Raiders need healthy depth at linebacker, and Maiava can’t provide that.
“It’s been a challenge we haven’t had a real opportunity to watch him,” Allen said. “He got hurt fairly early in training camp, so we haven’t had a real opportunity to see a lot of evaluation on him. We’ll have to make a decision here in 10 days or so on where he fits.”
New injuries: WR Brice Butler (hamstring)
Returning from injuries: CB Tracy Porter (groin), WR Juron Criner
Still sidelined: SS Tyvon Branch (ribs), TE David Ausberry (shoulder), DL Brandon Bair (hamstring), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), LT Jared Veldheer (triceps), LB Kaluka Maiava (ankle).
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)
Quote of the day: "It is kind of like a mixed emotion. My teammate is Matt Flynn. Obviously, you want to be on the field and play but you also have feelings for a guy that you’re working with. I’m in meeting room with the guy 13, 14 hours a day. I didn’t think (the fans) went about it the right way. I went in and they got what they wanted, but I thought it could have been a better way, not booing him and stuff like that. Whenever you can, guys, just try to keep that down. Everybody’s pulling for each other and I believe that you have to be with each other through thick and thin. When problems happen, you can’t boo guys. We have to be better than that. Raider Nation will be better than that, too, I believe.” -- Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, on fans demanding he play Friday over Matt Flynn.