Finally healed from a lingering foot injury that blew up a promising 2011 season, Darren McFadden doesn't plan to change his game to stay on the field.
"The only thing I can do is go out there and go hard," McFadden told SiriusXM NFL Radio (via KNTV) on Monday. "If I get hurt, I just get hurt."
Short of hook slides in between the tackles (this would be entertaining), it's not like McFadden could change his playing style in the name of durability even if he tried. He will either stay healthy or get injured, just like any other player.
Of course, injuries have come to define McFadden as much as his explosive speed and cutting ability. The Raiders expected a franchise back when they selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft. What they've gotten instead is a tease -- a player who disappears just when you begin to rely on his dominance.
The Raiders let productive backup Michael Bush walk in free agency, meaning they will lean on McFadden without a reliable safety net. If he limps off again and Oakland is hung out to dry, it's not outrageous to think McFadden will have lost his last chance to prove he's an every-down guy.
McFadden is set to earn $5.65 million in 2012, a substantial price tag at the running-back position. Only Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson ($8 million each) will earn more next season. McFadden's salary jumps to $5.86 million in 2013 (the final year of his deal), a check the Raiders could be hesitant to cut if the injury bug strikes him down once again.