ALAMEDA – Raiders rookie safety Johnathan Abram has a magnetic personality.
That came through on HBO's "Hard Knocks," where the first-round pick become popular for mispronouncing "salmon" and giving quarterback Derek Carr the business about his nine-figure contract.
The Raiders loved their high-intensity motor mouth, always talking trash and making big hits in the defensive backfield.
Abram was set to make major contributions in 2019, before his season was cut short by a torn rotator cuff that requires season-ending surgery. He got hurt in the first half of Monday's victory over the Denver Broncos, but played through it and finished his first -- and final -- game this season.
The Raiders roster took the news hard. Abram's loss for this season is significant in the locker room and on the field.
"It hurts, and that sucks," quarterback Derek Carr said Wednesday. "All he was saying leading up to the game was, ‘I've waited my whole life for this.' He said, ‘Forget college, I've waited my whole life for this moment.' For him to go out there and hurt it when he did, and then continue to play -- he said, ‘I just started hitting people with my other shoulder.'
"That shows you what kind of man he is. He's a grown man. He's a Raider. Our Raider. I'll make sure he still feels a part of this. The hardest thing about guys on IR is that you don't see them. We still need those guys around. He still needs to be around. I'm praying for a speedy recovery. It sucks, but we all know how this league goes. It's next man up."
Curtis Riley's the next player inserted into the starting lineup, with Erik Harris available in reserve at both safety spots.
If Abram had his druthers, he'd maintain his first-unit spot despite a debilitating shoulder injury.
"It's a big blow to our team," coach Jon Gruden said. "It's a big loss, no question. … We'll treat this as a redshirt year for him. He made some big plays that helped win a football game, and he's a big part of our future.
"He's everything that's advertised. He'd probably play this week if we'd let him."