After 53 snaps – forty-nine on defense and four on special teams – Johnathan Abram’s rookie season has come to an end.
“I did not know this at the time of our press conference yesterday, but John Abram is on injured reserve,” Head Coach Jon Gruden announced Wednesday. “He hurt his shoulder. Big blow to our team”
While Abram officially won’t land on the reserve/injured list until Thursday at the earliest, the fact remains, the talented safety’s rookie campaign will unfortunately end after just a single game.
And while No. 24 won’t touch the field again until 2020, in his brief time on the field, he proved that the Oakland Raiders’ front office invested wisely by selecting him No. 27 overall in this year’s NFL Draft.
“He [Abram] is everything as advertised,” Gruden explained. “He’d probably play this week if we let him, but he’s going to have surgery, I think, tomorrow, and we’re just keeping him in our thoughts and prayers, and we’re going to miss him, no doubt.”
All told, in his lone game as a rookie, Abram totaled five tackles, and one pass defensed, but stats aside, he did exactly what the Silver and Black’s coaching staff hoped he would – set the tone on the backend of Paul Guenther’s defense.
“It hurts, man,” Derek Carr added. “That sucks, man, because you see someone – all he was talking about before the game was, ‘I’ve waited my whole life for this. I’ve waited my whole life for this.’ He said, ‘forget college, I’ve waited my whole life for this moment.’ And for him to go out there, and hurt it when he did, and to continue to play, he said, ‘yeah, I just started hitting people with my other shoulder,’ and that right there shows you what kind of man he is. He’s a grown man. He’s a Raider. And he’s our Raider.”
Without Abram’s services, the team will now rely heavily on the other four safeties on the roster, all of whom – excluding Dallin Leavitt – all have at least three years of NFL experience under their belt.
And while the roster turnover will likely continue throughout the season, for the team’s safeties in the short term, they’ll have to recalibrate in a hurry, and get ready for an explosive Kansas City Chiefs offense.
“No question it’s a big loss, and fortunately for us, we kept five safeties, five really good players,” explained Gruden. “We’ll hope to get John back, and we’ll keep him around here, let him learn the defense, and we’ll consider this a redshirt year for him, but he made some big plays to help us win a football game. He’s a big part of our future.”
“And I’ll make sure he’s still part of this, he [Abram] feels a part of it,” Carr added. “The hardest thing about those guys if they’re out for the year and they’re on IR is you don’t see them. We’re still teammates. We still need those guys around. He still needs to be around as much as he can. I love him, praying for a speedy recovery. It sucks, but you know how this league goes, next man up.”
Following their Week 1 victory against the Denver Broncos, the Raiders hit the practice fields to prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.