ALAMEDA -- Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury on Wednesday morning, bringing his rookie season to an early, unceremonious end.
The No. 12 overall pick had surgery to repair a sports hernia on Tuesday.
Hayden suffered the groin injury during a Nov. 6 practice, just days after his worst game as a professional. Hayden gave up three catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles, but won’t get a chance to redeem himself this season.
Defensive lineman Brian Sanford was promoted in a corresponding move.
Head coach Dennis Allen knew Hayden would be out an extended period, and tried to ensure his spirits stayed up last week.
Hayden’s last public correspondence of any kind came via Twitter on Nov. 13, when he simply wrote: “Why me.”
The tweet makes more sense no that he’s formally out for season.
Hayden started the training camp recovering from heart surgery and abdominal surgery to remove scar tissue from the original procedure.
Cruelly ironic, Hayden injured his groin on the anniversary of the day he nearly died. Hayden got hit in a 2012 University of Houston practice and ruptured his inferior vena cava. He made a miraculous recovery, was selected in the first round and was cleared for contact near the end of Radiers training camp.
Hayden struggled some in his rookie season, when he played outside cornerback only in the nickel package.
He allowed 26 receptions in 40 targets for 376 yards and three touchdowns, for a 110.0 passer rating. Hayden’s finest rookie moment came against the San Diego Chargers, when he intercepted Philip Rivers in the end zone to seal an improbable victory.
"I would say he had his ups and downs," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "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."
Hayden took his uneven start in stride in his last meeting with the media on the day he got hurt, although he didn’t reveal the injury at the time.
“This is the NFL. Everybody is fast and strong and can make plays,” Hayden said. “I just have to get better and step up to the level of competition and maximize my potential.”
Allen said Hayden has to make changes to maximize his potential. He needs to get stronger and play more aggressive in 2014.
"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," Allen said.
Hayden took to twitter Wednesday afternoon with a pair of short messages. He thanked Raiders fans for their support and then tweeted "change is coming."