NAPA, Calif. – The big news the day before the Oakland Raiders' first training camp practice revolved around cornerback D.J. Hayden's pending trip to the physically unable to perform list.
But there was other injury news announced by coach Dennis Allen at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa at a lunch attended by five media outlets and the team’s website.
Allen said the Raiders will cut linebacker Kevin Burnett, as the nine-year veteran was not cleared for participation by the Raiders’ medical staff. Burnett, who was dealing with an ankle issue in the second organized team activities session in early June, started 16 games at weakside linebacker last season and had 129 tackles with 2½ sacks and an interception.
The Raiders drafted Khalil Mack with the No. 5 overall pick and the rookie is slotted to start on the strong side, with Sio Moore moving toWill linebacker to battle Miles Burris for the starting job. Nick Roach, who played every defensive snap last season, returns at middle linebacker.
“Where we’re at at the linebacker position, with some young talented players, Miles Burris and Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava being a main guy, I think we feel good with that position,” Allen said, “and we’re going to move on from Kevin Burnett.”
Burnett had a salary cap value for 2014 of nearly $4.14 million and was due to make $3.5 million.
Also, Allen said tight end Nick Kasa (hip flexor) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) would join Hayden (foot) on the PUP list, with safety Usama Young (quad) and rookie cornerback Keith McGill (ankle) potential adds. Young and McGill were injured Thursday during the team’s conditioning tests.
Defensive lineman Antonio Smith, meanwhile, is “good to go” after not practicing at all in the offseason programs while recovering from an undisclosed procedure following a weight-room mishap.
“You’d love to be able to start with everybody healthy and everybody on the field, but obviously, injuries are part of this game and it’s something we’ve got to be able to deal with and something that we’ve got to be able to overcome,” Allen said. “We’ll take it day by day and try to attack the rehab as fast as possible and see when we can get those guys back out there.”
The Raiders’ first training camp practice is Friday at 3 p.m. PT, with the first padded practice on Sunday.