Pro Day Tour: Amazing Comeback

Houston's D.J. Hayden tests for scouts after almost dying in November ... plus five other schools in which Packers scouts were in attendance on Monday.

Four-and-a-half months ago, the University of Houston's D.J. Hayden almost died on the practice field.

On Monday, he auditioned for a job in the NFL.

"It's the most unique injury in the history of the draft," Green Bay Packers scout Alonzo Highsmith told the Houston Chronicle. "The only people that ever had it aren't alive and doctors have never seen it."

On Nov. 6, Hayden tore the inferior vena cava — the main vein that transports blood from the lower half of the body to the heart — when he collided with the safety and the safety's knee struck Hayden in the chest. According to a school physician, the injury proves fatal 95 percent of the time.

"Dr. Michael O'Shea (the school trainer) took me inside," Hayden recounted at the Scouting Combine. "He was asking me these questions and I was getting real cold. I'm looking around and I'm getting real sleepy. My left eye goes pitch black. I can't see out of it. I can see a little bit out of my left eye. I'm praying, ‘Lord, help me get out if this one.' They rushed me to the hospital and did a scan on my stomach and my chest. They saw a lot of blood in my abdomen. They thought it was my liver or my spleen.

"The doctor said he was going to have to cut me open. I said, ‘OK, just don't mess my abs up.' So, they cut through my sternum and saw the inferior vena cava, the main vein to your heart, was torn. He put some sutures in, stitched it back together, closed me back up and here I am today."

The 5-foot-11 Hayden, a quality cornerback prospect who intercepted four passes as a senior and forced five fumbles as a junior, ran between 4.33 and 4.40 seconds, according to a source.

"I'm truly thankful I am out here," Hayden told the Chronicle on Monday. "It means the world to me. I didn't even think I would walk again."


With uncertainty over Jermichael Finley's short- and long-term future, the Packers took a close look at Vance McDonald. Over his final three seasons, he caught 107 passes for 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns. McDonald (6-6, 268) stuck with his work from the Scouting Combine (4.69 and 31 reps) and, according to's Gil Brandt, "caught everything" after a slow start to receiving drills.


Jordan Devey (6-6, 317) was a second-team all-Conference USA selection at left tackle as a senior, though he did see time at both guard spots. On Monday, scouts had him working at center to test the versatility of a late-round/undrafted prospect. He ran 5.25 with 21 reps at the Combine.

Wake Forest

Fullback Tommy Bohanon (6-1, 246), who was selected to the Senior Bowl, ran in 4.88 at the Combine and trimmed that to 4.76, according to a source. He's an intriguing late-round prospect after catching 23 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.

Valdosta State

The Packers got another look at guard Edmond Kugbila (6-4, 317), who ran 5.31 with 23 reps at the Combine. Born in Ghana, he came to the United States in 2000 when his family won a visa lottery. He was a two-time FCS All-American guard and is considered an undrafted free agent. Results were not available.

Virginia Union

Kentrell Harris (6-4, 276) tallied eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses and was named second-team all-conference. Results were not available.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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