UH player goes from near death to pro workout

March 18, 2013 5:53:37 PM PDT
The best story anywhere heading into the NFL draft comes from the University of Houston and DJ Hayden. A freak accident left him near death, but on Monday, he worked out for pro scouts.

Hayden admits he was nervous when he woke up Monday morning. Who can blame him? It's been barely four months since DJ suffered a near fatal tear of the main vein leading to his heart during a Cougars practice.

"Everyone's thought about it," said Packers Sr. Personnel Director Alonzo Highsmith. "It's the most unique injury in the history of the draft."

Hayden has worked overtime to regain his weight and his speed. In front of scouts from more than 25 NFL teams, DJ blazed the 40 in 4.33 seconds.

"I didn't think I would walk again," said Hayden. "So me being out here running, back with my teammates, back sweating, back with my weight back, I'm just truly thankful."

DJ tweaked his left hamstring late in his workout, but it's clear he impressed the scouts. To DJ, it's about much more.

"People say I'm a miracle? I say, 'I ain't no miracle,'" said Hayden. "I'm glad that some people tell me my story motivates them. It moves them, makes them get better, so I'm thankful for that."

Next for DJ, he has four private workouts for NFL teams over the next couple of weeks.

"The feedback that we've got from teams is, how he gets drafted, it's going to surprise a lot of people where he goes," said Hayden's agent, Jeff Nalley.

Before Monday, DJ hadn't worked out for any NFL scouts, but he says he's told his story about 100 times.

"They just ask me if I'll be scared to be out there again," said Hayden. "I just told them I have to get hit one time. I just need someone to smack me."

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