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DJ Hayden OK'd for full contact with Oakland Raiders

Nine months after suffering a near-fatal heart injury, Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden is ready for full-contact football again.

Coach Dennis Allen confirmed Saturday that the Raiders' first-round draft pick was cleared to ramp up his workload, as expected. Hayden underwent an unexpected procedure to remove scar tissue from his abdominal area during the offseason. He has practiced in training camp while wearing a red non-contact jersey.

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The Raiders drafted Hayden No. 12 overall despite the rare injury he suffered last November. Hayden tore a vein in his heart after a routine hit in practice; the injury has a 95 percent fatality rate and normally only happens in car accidents.

"Obviously, nobody knows how he's going to respond when that happens," Allen said, per The Associated Press. "He's been very good as far as practice has been concerned."

The Raiders can't wait to see Hayden on the field in the preseason. They likely will be without cornerback Tracy Porter, who suffered a groin injury Friday. Hayden immediately should be the team's top cornerback.

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