OAKLAND — D.J. Hayden finally gets the chance to answer the critics who thought the Oakland Raiders made a risky bet when they drafted him 12th overall in April.
Hayden will make his exhibition debut for Oakland on Friday night against the Chicago Bears in his first game action of any kind since a near-fatal practice collision ended his college career last November and raised questions about his future in the NFL.
The cornerback has been limited most of training camp after undergoing abdominal surgery in May to heal scarring from the original injury. He was not cleared for any contact until last Friday and has had just one padded practice before taking the field against the Bears.
"I'm looking forward to my first NFL game. Can't wait to get out there and play," Hayden said. "I want to go ahead and shake the rust off. Get wet a little bit. Can't wait."
Hayden last played a game Nov. 3 for Houston against East Carolina. He was injured days later when he collided with a teammate at practice.