D.J. Hayden inching closer to field

The Oakland Raiders are targeting the third preseason game, Aug. 23 at home against Chicago, as the first game first-round pick D.J. Hayden will play. He has been relegated to non-contact drills because of an offseason surgery that was related to a life-threatening heart surgery last November.

Getting Hayden on the field in the preseason is key for Oakland. The team expects him to play a huge role in the regular season, so he needs to get a taste of the NFL before he faces Andrew Luck in Indianapolis in Week 1. Hayden was the No. 12 overall pick in the draft.

In another Oakland note, punter Chris Kluwe is perhaps the most politically charged player in the NFL. His views are not for everybody. However, read this account of his competition with young Marquette King in Oakland and it is impossible not to have respect for him. It’s a must read about the struggles of competition in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Bill Barnwell of Grantland joins the party of those trumpeting the Chiefs as a team to watch in 2013.