VIDEO: Ex-Razorback McFadden Ready For Long Run With Raiders After Shortened Season

by Casey Hawkins  on Friday, Jun. 8, 2012 10:20 am  

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Darren McFadden might be more rested and ready for the upcoming football season than he has been in years.

Feeling refreshed is the plus side of missing all but seven games with the Oakland Raiders last season. The downside, of course, is that McFadden is once again facing questions about his health.

McFadden, the No. 4 overall pick in 2008 out of Arkansas, has missed multiple games each season because of an assortment of injuries. He said he is feeling no ill effects from them in preparing for his fifth year with the Raiders.

“I feel like I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt in a long time,” McFadden said. “I didn’t take too many hits last year so my body is feeling healthy and I’m ready go out there and get going again. I want to go out and show what I can do.”

What McFadden, who was back in his home state this week for a football camp, did in college with the Razorbacks is well known. His combination of size, strength and speed made him a nightmare for defensive coordinators and he ran for 4,590 yards and 41 touchdowns, averaging 121 yards per season, in three years with Arkansas.

McFadden’s 1,830 rushing yards in 2007 is a school record. In the same season against South Carolina, he turned in a performance for the ages as he set the SEC single-game rushing record with 323 yards. He won the Doak Walker Award (given annually to the best running back in college football) twice, and was the runner-up for the Heisman trophy twice.

If he stayed for his senior season, he would have likely been the favorite to win the Heisman that year.

Things haven’t come as easy for McFadden in the NFL. Mostly his struggles have been injury-related. During his first four seasons McFadden missed 19 games with foot, knee, hamstring and shoulder issues.

McFadden led the NFL in rushing early last season, but a sprained foot kept him out of action and he wasn’t as strong late in the year. It was a familiar position for McFadden, who has dealt with injuries since entering the league.

Prior to the injury he was drawing praise from opponents and media. Yahoo! Sports columnist Michael Silver said McFadden had gone from “bust to beast.” Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman was impressed with McFadden’s abilities, following a week two performance that included 171 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

“He’s one of the best running backs in the league, hands down,” Merriman told reporters after the game.



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