Originally published on SBReport.net on July 26, 2013
The Raiders returned to Napa, Calif. and participated in their first day of practice on Friday.
Those not participating were linebacker Miles Burris, defensive tackle Pat Sims and rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson. Burris is still recovering from knee injury and Sims and Watson have an undisclosed injury that head coach Dennis Allen did not want to discuss.
“Well when they’re ready to roll, they’ll be back out there practicing,” Allen said of Watson and Sims.
Allen thought that his team did a good job jumping back into practice after having roughly a month off between the mandatory mini-camp and the beginning of training camp.
“We’re excited about being out here. We’re excited about the first day of training camp. I thought, for the first practice, I was pleased with what we were able to get done today. Obviously, it’s the first step in a long journey and we’ve got a lot of progress we’ve got to make and we’ve got a short time to get it done.”
One player that was good to see back on the field was rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden, who missed most of the offseason workouts after having surgery to remove scar tissue in his abdomen from his original nearly fatal injury suffered last fall.
Hayden was listed on the Non-football injury list last night as a precaution, according to Allen. Hayden was forced to wear a red non-contact jersey by coaches but did participate in all drills. Allen intends to take a slower pace with incorporating Hayden back into the defense.
“We want to work him back into football condition,” Allen said of his young cornerback. “We’re going to limit some contact drills we do with him and really bring him along, I don’t know if I’d say slowly, but we’re not just going to throw him into the fire.”
Despite being in a red jersey, Hayden was just grateful to be back out on the field and working with his teammates.
“I’m just happy to even be out there. If I’ve gotta have a red jersey on, then that’s what it is. I’m cool with it, and happy,” Hayden said.
The start of training camp also marked the first time veteran defensive back Charles Woodson returned to the Raiders training camp facility.
“Coming back up to Napa, that part of it felt good,” Woodson said. “Walking out here to practice today, you know, it was, again, it was a familiar feeling, having been here a long time the first time around. I was just anxious to get out there and run around on the field today and have a little fun.”
For rookie linebacker Sio Moore, it was a little different of a feeling as he enters his first training camp as an NFL player. Moore was just happy to be back on the field after an offseason that seemed longer than a month.
“It felt long, to tell you the honest truth,” Moore said. “It felt good to be able to get football back on under my wings and get back out there with the guys and just working and seeing where I’m at, whether it be mentally or physically. And seeing what I’ve got to improve on from a fundamental aspect being that we’re not in pads, so it was a good day.”
Though they returned to the field, the players are excited to have the two “acclimation” days over so they can get the pads on and start hitting.
“I’m excited man, because then you get to play football,” Moore said. “I mean, right now we’re playing football but from a fundamental standpoint. In a couple of days, we’re going to be going at it the right way and we’ll be really able to work and being able to simulate true game-like situations because we’re going to have the pads on. It’s exciting.”
The players should appear in pads for the first day starting on Sunday.
A couple of plays and situations to note: