Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey did not take part in the final day of workouts at the Raiders' mandatory minicamp after pulling up lame late in Saturday's morning practice. The seventh overall pick in the draft, Heyward-Bey was worked on by a trainer but did not return for the afternoon workout and remained on the sidelines when the team gathered for Sunday's session.
Head coach Tom Cable downplayed the severity of the situation and said that the rookie wide receiver was simply suffering from a sore hamstring and fatigue.
"It's the toughest transition for the rookies, with all the running we do," Cable said. "You just want to be smart with them. It's precautionary."
Second-round pick Mike Mitchell and fourth-rounder Louis Murphy also sat out Sunday's practice for similar reasons, though neither player's situation is considered serious.
Still, the Raiders are concerned enough that they brought in veteran wide receiver Sammie Parker and free agent Drisan James for tryouts. Both players took part in Saturday and Sunday's practices, though neither has been offered a contract yet.
Oakland is trying to avoid a situation like it had in 2008 when the wide receiving corps was riddled by injuries. As a result, quarterback JaMarcus Russell never had a chance to get solid timing down with any of the receivers and instead spent most of the season throwing to tight end Zach Miller or dumping the ball off to a running back.
Heyward-Bey ran the fastest 40 time at the Scouting Combine this year but was criticized for his lack of consistency holding onto the ball. He dropped three passes in Saturday's practice before getting hurt.
"Just tightened up, my legs are a little too tight (from) running too fast," Heyward-Bey said with a laugh. "The speed is definitely fast but I was able to keep up."
Wagaman's take: Given that it's only May there really isn't too much to get worked up about. Then again, given that it's only May and the rookies have had less than a week's worth of practice, seeing three of them pull out because of fatigue and hamstring concerns is a little troubling. Cable made it a point to say that the Raiders did more work in the minicamp than the rookies do during all of spring football in college, but it wasn't as if the players were running wind sprints all practice or even working out at a rapid pace. Cable broke up practice numerous times with planned breaks, allowing the players to get water and rest. Yes, there's something to be said for not rushing guys into things but this is the NFL and if players wear out like this, then how are they going to handle the rigors of practicing 4-5 times a day when the regular season? That's my biggest issue, moreso than the severity of the injury.
Heyward-Bey sits out practice
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