Gareon Conley did everything right this offseason. The second-year cornerback was fit, healthy and primed for a breakout season with the Raiders after an injury-marred rookie year in which he played very little.
As the Raiders moved through their spring workouts, his teammates and the coaching staff were eager to see what the team's No. 1 pick of 2017 could do as an NFL corner.
“A player of his caliber … he’s showing why he was a first-round pick,” veteran safety Reggie Nelson told Matt Schneidman of the Bay Area News Group. “I think there’s a high standard out for him right now and he’s holding that up. I think Conley’s doing a great job.”
But now that training camp is under way, Conley has again gone down with an injury. Perhaps it won’t sideline him the way his shin injury did in 2017 – the Raiders can hope – but it’s not a good sign for a player hoping to show the talents that made him an All-American at Ohio State.
Conley has missed the last three days of practice in Napa with a hip strain, according to Jim Trotter of NFL.com, and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden told reporters after Monday’s practice that it would be a “fair assessment” to expect Conley to miss a few weeks of practice. Gruden said he, his staff and Conley are disappointed.
“He comes out and starts training camp, he’s in superb shape, he makes a great play and he gets a setback,” Gruden said. “Hopefully he comes back sooner than later.”
Paul Gutierrez of ESPN reported that in Conleys’ absence Daryl Worley has been getting first-team action at Conley’s position at right cornerback.
Said Gruden: “His heart is broken. He’s put a lot into this and he knows he’s got to stay healthy to get out there for us, because we need him.”
Just last week at the start of camp, Conley had tweeted he was “praying for a healthy camp and a healthy season for me and all my brothas.”