May 20, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders' D.J. Hayden Hospitalized. Bengals Fans Breathe Sigh of Relief



The Oakland Raiders may be without their #1 draft pick D.J. Hayden for some time now after the former Houston Cougars cornerback underwent a procedure to remove scar tissue in his abdominal region last week, and is out for the remainder of the team’s OTAs.

Hayden was the feel-good story of the NFL Draft this year after he miraculously survived a heart injury that nearly claimed his young life. Hayden missed the last month of the 2012 season after doctors diagnosed a tear of the inferior vena cava (IVC), or the largest vein in the body that is responsible for bringing blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart, but he recovered in time to show NFL teams he was 100% healthy and eventually  become the 12th-overall pick by the Raiders.

It’s a good thing for the Cincinnati Bengals that they drafted him at #12, because the team was interested in taking him at #21. If you recall, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote in one of his Monday Morning QB Columns leading up to the draft that the Bengals were showing significant interest in Hayden:

Cincinnati (21) likes Alec Ogletree and Eddie Lacy — and a strange one for this high: Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, who had a risky heart-valve problem in 2011 but now checks out OK. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has spent loads of time investigating Hayden.

Doesn’t this feel eerily similar to Dre Kirkpatrick missing essentially the entire offseason last year due to various injuries? Hopefully, Hayden doesn’t miss the season like Kirk did and goes on to have a great NFL career, but you have to be happy if you’re a Bengals fan you won’t have to worry this offseason about the team’s top-pick not playing this year…again.


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