Jerry McDonald of the CONTRA COSTA TIMES reports that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Oakland Raiders No. 7 pick of the 2009 draft, has missed four training camp practices this week.
Thursday Raiders Coach Tom Cable confirmed to the media that Heyward-Bey isn’t injured or tending to off-field issues.
No, it turns out that Heyward-Bey is tired. Really, really tired.
More specifically, the 23-year-old Heyward-Bey, who is scheduled to make $21.4 million in guaranteed money with the Raiders this season, is out of action because of “fatigue.”
So why is Heyward-Bey so much more tired than his training camp mates?
According to Cable, the wide receiver worked out too hard in the offseason.
When it was suggested to Cable that Heyward-Bey may have overtrained in the offseason, he said, “Yeah. I think guys do that now, especially with the way the offseason are and as long as they are and all that. He’s OK. I’m just not going to put him a situation where it may get us a negative outcome.’’
I am happy to report though that Heyward-Bey wasn’t gassed enough Thursday to attend practice and sign autographs, which surely delighted his teammates:
After signing a few autographs for fans invited to practice, Heyward-Bey said he was, “just a little fatigued. Coach Cable is holding me out a little bit for that. That’s pretty much it.’’
“Body, legs, you know just fatigue. Doing a lot of running. Receivers, we’re low in numbers anyway. I feel bad for the other guys out there and me missing. But we’re working hard out there, so it takes a toll.’’
“You gotta be smart out there. You have to ask yourself, ‘Can I play at the level they want me to play at?’”
Wait, isn’t that the coach’s job?
I guess not if you’re making nearly $1 million per game during the season.
Ironic that Heyward-Bey would be held out at such a crucial time in the formative years of his professional career. The Raiders were widely-criticized for making him a high draft selection because of his lack of production while playing for a pedestrian Maryland squad in the ACC.
If ever a player needed reps entering a critical second season, especially considering Heyward-Bey’s propensity to drop passes at an alarming rate during his rookie season, it’s the $21.4 million-dollar, second-year man.