In a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 23 last season, Darren McFadden’s season came to an end.
It could be argued the Raiders’ season came apart that day, too.
After just his second carry of the game, McFadden – who had been having a brilliant season up to that point – limped off the field. At the time, the injury didn’t appear to be serious. It was described as a sprained foot, and head coach Hue Jackson said that day and in the weeks following that he expected McFadden to return.
But McFadden never did, and the Raiders – who were 4-2 going into that game – eventually stumbled late in the season to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs yet again.
Since that time, Jackson has been fired, Reggie McKenzie has been hired as general manager, and new head coach Dennis Allen has come aboard with a whole new coaching staff and the Raiders roster has gone through a dynamic makeover.
Through it all, McFadden has for the most part remained silent.
But on Monday, the 24-year-old running back talked about his injuries and his enthusiasm for the coming season on NFL Sirius radio.
McFadden, who’s entering his fifth NFL season, says, “I’m feeling pretty good now” and believes he’s healthy entering a new season.
McFadden noted “it’s a long recovery” from the foot sprain he suffered, and he had to be patient to let it heal.
Though he’s been hampered by injuries his first four seasons, McFadden says it’s not something he can worry about. He’ll just keep playing the way he plays.
“The only thing I can do is go out there and go hard,” he said. “If I get hurt I just get hurt. It’s not something I’m going out there and worrying (about). It’s part of football. If you get hurt, you just get hurt.”
When healthy, McFadden has been exceptional. As one of the fastest running backs in the league, McFadden already had rushed for more than 600 yards in his first six games and was coming off a 2010 season when he had rushed for 1,157 yards and seven TDs.
Early in 2011, he twice had monster games, rushing for 150 yards in a win over the Denver Broncos and 171 yards and two TDs in a win over the New York Jets that included a 70-yard TD sprint.
Now, he says “everyone is very excited about the new coaching staff” and the vibe around the team this offseason.
McFadden also is looking forward to playing with quarterback Carson Palmer, who was acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2011 season. McFadden and Palmer never got a chance to play in a game together.
“I think he’s going to do a tremendous job for us,” said McFadden. “Go out there and make plays and get the ball to those young receivers’ hands that we have.”