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News

D.J. Hayden Press Conference

Posted Apr 26, 2013

CB D.J. Hayden spoke with the media at Raiders headquarters Friday afternoon.


On if he will dedicate part of his game to stopping the run: “I just like to make plays. If me stopping the run is making a play, then that’s what I’m going to do. I just like to help the team out as much as I can, just basically overall make plays.”

On what doctors have told him that gives him confidence in returning to full contact on the field: “Basically it’s like any other bone break. They had to saw open my sternum and it was just a matter of time for it to heal. Eventually it’s going to heal and it’s healed. Like I said, me and my friends were kind of play-fighting a little bit and I took a couple punches, and I think I took them well so I think I should be alright on that end.”

On when he realized he was going to become a Raider: “When I saw that 510 phone call; I saw it and I had a feeling like, ‘I’m going to Oakland.’ I answered the phone and I was just speechless. It was one of the greatest moments of my life, hands down. I’m just so happy to be a part of Raider Nation right now.”

On if he has been told by doctors that his injury could happen again: “The chances of it happening again are slim to none, just as it was before I got hurt. It was really just a freak accident. It’s never happened before on the football field; it usually happens in car accidents. The chances of it happening again are slim to none and I’m just not really worried about it. It’s just one of those freak deals that just happened.”

On if he prefers to play press coverage: “Really, I play a little off and on; it just depends on the down and distance and game situation. It really doesn’t matter to me. Just whatever it is, whatever the game situation is making me feel most comfortable, that’s the one I’ll be doing.”

On if he is aware of the history of the Raiders and their past cornerbacks: “Yeah, I’m aware of it. They had Charles Woodson and Willie Brown and Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes. It’s almost like DB factory. For me to even just be considered to be a part of it, I’m just truly thankful, just truly blessed.”

On if he had contact with the Raiders as they moved out of the No. 3 pick: “My agent told me, ‘Why didn’t you answer your phone?’ I said, ‘I didn’t get a call.’ I guess they were trying to call me and it didn’t go through. At the end of the day, I guess it kind of worked out because they moved down and they still got the person they wanted and then they got an extra pick. It worked out good.”

On if he feels lucky to be where he is now after where he has been: “I don’t feel lucky, I feel blessed. I give all the glory to God because without Him, I wouldn’t be here. Without Him I wouldn’t be in the mind-state I’m in right now. Just me trusting in Him through this whole process, when I was at my lowest moment at my mom’s house, to where I’m at now, it’s just a true blessing. It just shows how nurturing God is and how he’s a forgiving God. It just shows how powerful He is, and if you just believe in Him, so much good can come out of it.”

On what went through his mind at his lowest point: “Basically I thought that I would never walk again and I wasn’t even worried about football. This is like two weeks, like three weeks out of the hospital, I’m skinny, I lost a lot of weight and I got scratches and bruises all over my body. I was just going through it. I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t look like the same person. Just me going through that was a really dark time for me. I didn’t ever think I’d be where I’m at right now. I just thank the Lord that I’m even here right now.”

On his flight to Oakland and thinking about everything that was about to unfold: “I don’t think it really hit me yet. I don’t think it’s going to hit me until I actually get on the field and put the helmet on. I haven’t slept. I’ve just been so excited just to come out here and just start this next chapter in my life. I’m real excited but I don’t think it will hit me until I actually strap those pads up.”

On his relationship with Trevon Stewart, with whom he collided at practice Nov. 6: “We’ve definitely been closer. Trey, he’s like my little brother. When he first came in, when he was on his visit, I kind of recruited him on his visit. I showed him around, told him the do’s and don’ts, and just showed him around the whole campus and told him the do’s and don’ts of college football. He’s like my little brother. We talk all the time. He’s probably texting me right now. His family and my family have good relationships. I love the kid to death.”

On if Stewart will play in the NFL one day: “If he keeps his head straight, he will.”

On if he is medically cleared for full contact and if he would be disappointed if on the first day of practice he were held out or paced differently: “I’m medically cleared and if I was to get … I would be because I’m medically cleared. It would probably be like the team worrying about me, but I would definitely be kind of upset not to be able to practice full-go with the rest of my teammates, but, I don’t know; stuff happens sometimes.”

On why he thinks his stock rose so much just before the draft: “Maybe it was my 40. Then again, I don’t know; maybe Mel Kiper just decided to watch my film. I don’t know what it was, but I’m truly thankful that he watched it and I got a lot of late buzz. It’s just a blessing. To come from where I came from, the struggles I’ve been through, for me to be where I’m at right now, it’s a true, true blessing. I’m truly thankful.”

On what he learned about himself through all these experiences: “I learned I can take a lot of IVs, a lot of pokes. I learned that, definitely my faith has definitely gotten stronger through this whole process, hands down. I learned that now I’m not taking as much for granted as I used to because you never know when your time is going to end. Everything in this world is temporary. You never know when somebody’s going to come bomb us or, I don’t know, you never know. Crazy stuff happens in the world every day. I try to just soak it all in and just do right by everybody because you don’t want to do wrong by everybody and then, when they’re gone, you’re going to wish you did right by them. I just try to do right by everybody.”

On when he became a cornerback and which corners he looked up to when he was a kid: “Players I idolized playing corner were Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson and Darrelle Revis. I’ve been playing corner since I can remember. Well, in Little League I played linebacker, but then once I got to high school I started really to play corner.”

On what he liked about the cornerback position: “I don’t know; I guess I was just born to play corner. It’s hard to explain. I’ve just been there so long, I’ve been doing it so long that I just love holding receivers. I think it’s kind of harder because you’re going off what somebody else is doing. They know what they’re doing, but you’re reacting off them so I guess you’ve kind of got the tougher job. I don’t mind playing it; it’s fun.”

On what he needs to work on: “I’ve just got to work on preparation, in my eyes, eye discipline, just overall, just get better, man; just try to come here, compete and become a better football player.”

On how much he talked to the Raiders during the draft process and if he knew that they had a serious interest in him: “I actually talked to the Raiders. We sat down and had lunch in Houston before my pro day, and we had a great conversation. And we had a great little lunch. The Raiders were actually my last visit, so I guess I saved the best for last. I felt like I could make this my home, so I really had a good feeling about the Raiders when I left my last visit. It turned out well, so I’m glad I’m here.”

On if he sees himself starting as a rookie: “I would love to, but I know that I’m just going to have to come in here and compete just like everybody else because I’m a rookie coming in trying to take a veteran’s job, and I know they’ve got a family to feed, too. So I’m just going to come in, compete and whatever happens, happens.”