A few months ago there were fears that Raiders tight end Clive Walford had been injured seriously in an ATV accident.
The injury wasn’t reported until weeks after it occurred. The unspecified injury to his knee required surgery, and some within the organization apparently believed that Walford – whom some see as an emerging star in the offense – could miss part of the 2016 season.
But, when reports of the injury and surgery came to light in early May, one source told a reporter that the injury “may not be as bad as originally thought.”
Still, Walford had to sit out most of spring practices to fully heal.
But now that training camp has begun, all doubts about Walford’s fitness have been put to rest.
Walford was cleared for full participation in training camp practices in Napa this past weekend and appears to be going full speed and running and moving without any problems, reported Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.
After being slowed by injuries as a rookie in training camp last year, Walford will be able to pick up where he left off last season. Walford, a third-round pick from Miami in 2015, worked his way into a much larger role as the season progressed and finished with 28 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns.
Much more is expected of him this season. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave told Gutierrez that it was important for Walford to be ready by the start of this year’s camp to develop chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr and his teammates.
“Even this time last year he was on the shelf,” Musgrave said. “So it’s good to have him out there, again, for Derek and the quarterbacks to have a feel for the way he runs his routes, where to place the ball. He has a lot of ability, so we’re looking for him to be a big part of what we do.”
Walford, who broke all the receiving records for tight ends at Miami, recently told writer Eddie Paskal of the team’s website that he believes he can have a big season in 2016.
“I feel like because this is my second year, the game will slow down for me, being able to read defenses, read the field better,” he said. “It’ll all come together. You guys will see it.”