OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders waited this long because they believed, when healthy, he was worth it.
They couldn’t wait any longer.
On Monday, the team placed cornerback Gareon Conley on injured reserve. He suffered a shin injury this spring that forced him to exit the team’s mid-June minicamp. The situation was more severe than initially thought; it lingered into the first-round pick’s rookie season, which is now over after 92 combined defensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3.
Conley hadn’t played since Sept. 24 or practiced since Oct. 6.
General manager Reggie McKenzie said last Thursday that Conley suffered the injury when kicked in practice. The Raiders allowed him months to recover, holding him out of training camp and the preseason. Then came a September setback that forced him onto the shelf again.
The Raiders’ decision to wait so long before placing Conley on IR is largely a reflection of the player they consider Conley to be when right.
“People’s bodies respond differently when you have those types of injuries,” McKenzie said last week. “You wait and see if it can heal and feel better enough and get him up to play. Early in the season, he was feeling better. Then he had a setback. We’re trying to give it some time to calm down. We’ll see what’s happening over the weekend, early in the week, and see what he can do.
“If he can’t go, then he can’t go. We’re just going to have to move on. But we’re going to give him every opportunity to see if he can do it. … There’s no question we’ve missed him. He came in and hit the ground running. We felt really good about him in the offseason until he got kicked, and that’s the way it is. He’s a good football player, and he’ll have a great career.”
Conley totaled seven tackles in his two games with one pass defensed.
In a corresponding move, defensive lineman Darius Latham was activated to the 53-man roster. He returned last week from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The league had granted the Raiders a temporary roster exemption.