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News

D.J. Hayden Conference Call

Posted Apr 25, 2013

Raiders first-round draft pick, CB D.J. Hayden, spoke with the media via conference call Thursday evening.

On being targeted by the Raiders: “There were rumors that the Raiders were going to take me. When I hear, like earlier when I was training, people were telling me I was going first round, people were telling me this. I really try not to listen to all that stuff. I was really just like, ‘When it happens, it happens.’ I heard a couple of rumors that the Raiders were going to be taking me and I got kind of excited and it was true. And glory to God that I'm even considered. I'm just truly thankful.”

On his overall feelings about his journey: “It's crazy how God works, man. It's truly crazy, because I really came a long way and then for this to happen to me, it's really a dream come true.”

On emotions after the injury: “When I was first out of the hospital, I was really just going through my mind. I was really depressed. I didn't even think I would walk again. I wasn't even thinking about football, but the doctor told me that there was a chance I might be able to play again once my sternum, stitches and all that healed. So right then and there I kind of knew in the back of my head, I'll be able to play again. But I just continued to trust in God and trust in his plan for me and it turned out good.”

On concerns from NFL teams following the injury: “The (NFL) doctors were amazed. When I walked in the room and they saw my scar, they were just amazed. I've told my story at least 300 times. The real, main concern for most teams was how I would feel getting back out there. I just told them I just have to get out there and shake the rust off of myself. I could sit here and tell them anything they wanted to hear but I actually have to go out there and just do it myself and just go out there and just play.”

On returning to the football field: “I'm definitely looking forward to getting hit because I just want to see how it feels, but I should be fine. I've been play-fighting with all my friends and they've been punching me in my chest. I can take their punches so I'm pretty sure I'll be alright; I've just got to get back out there and shake the rust off.”

On how it felt to know being a first-rounder was realistic: “When I started hearing the rumors and my agent told me get my phone ready, I just kind of got excited; that's when the butterflies really hit me and I was just like, ‘Whoa. I feel alive.’ This is just crazy, just mind-blowing.”

On when these emotions really kicked in: “Just today. At first people asked me how I was feeling about the draft and I was like, 'I'm alright.’ I was just trying to be real cool about it but when I actually saw my family at the house, that's when I really started to get butterflies.”

On the emotions felt upon getting his name called: “Just happy, pure joy. Just truly happy; happy that I know where I'm going now and now I can actually come to California and just start back working again, start getting back on the field, working out, doing everything. I'm just ready to come out there.”

On his initial visit with the Raiders: “It was cool. Coach Johnnie Lynn and some of the other coaches, we all went to some restaurant kind of along the boats. I don't know the name of it but it was a nice restaurant, real good. I got along with all the coaches. I got a good vibe from them. It was actually one of my best visits and I really like Coach Lynn, Travis Smith and Clayton Lopez. Coach Allen, he was cool, too; I love that guy. I'm just ready to be a Raider.”

On immediately becoming a difference-maker in the NFL: “Definitely. I’m always looking for a challenge and if I have to step up and be a leader then that’s just what I have to do. I’m just looking to help the team. I’m just a team player trying to win games.”

On whether he wondered if he would be able to play football again following his injury: “I did. I definitely did. [It lasted] about a week, and I was just wondering if I would walk straight again. That’s what was on my mind; it was walking straight. I wasn’t worried about life after football. I wasn’t worried about life after college. I was just worried about walking.”

On whether he thought he was a top cornerback before his injury: “I definitely thought I was, but I didn’t get into all of that. I was just focused on the season and trying to win games. I really wasn’t caught up in the rankings and all of that. I was just playing football.

On whether he talked to Houston alum and former Raider CB Stanford Routt: “I can’t say that I have. I actually haven’t talked to Stanford Routt.”