23-Year-Old NFL 1st Rounder Out Due To ‘Fatigue’

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.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

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.

From McDonald:

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.