Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Darrius Heyward-Bey raises his arm as he is carted off the field after a helmet-to-helmet collision with the Steelers' Ryan Mundy.

Raiders' Heyward-Bey leaves hospital

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 - 5:36 pm

ALAMEDA – The lingering anxiety from an otherwise upbeat weekend for the Raiders lightened Monday.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was released from a hospital one day after being knocked unconscious by a frightening helmet-to-helmet hit.

Heyward-Bey was resting at home with a concussion and neck strain Monday and is expected to make a full recovery, the Raiders announced. He had stayed at the Eden Medical Center overnight for observation after being carted off the field during the fourth quarter of the Raiders' 34-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Coach Dennis Allen said he talked with Heyward-Bey on Monday and that the receiver sounded "tired" but "in good spirits."

"The concussion is obviously the bigger issue than anything else right now," Allen said. "He's a guy that we're going to have to continue to evaluate and see where he's at. We were all pleased to see that it wasn't anything severe as far as a neck injury or anything like that."

As Heyward-Bey reached for a pass from quarterback Carson Palmer in the end zone, Steelers safety Ryan Mundy came in to break it up, and the top of Mundy's helmet struck Heyward-Bey flush across the face mask.

Heyward-Bey's head whipped to the left and hit the ground as he landed. He stayed down for about 10 minutes while trainers tended to him, and he did raise his right arm while being taken off the field. No flag was thrown on the play.

Allen said that after reviewing the play, he didn't see any intent to harm.

"Listen, it's the game of football," Allen said. "I don't think people are trying to go out there and hurt people. I think the safety was playing the game fast and physical. It's a tough game to play when you're making split-second decisions on how you play the game. It's an unfortunate thing that happens in the game, but we move on from it."

Asked if he was surprised that the replacement officiating crew didn't call a penalty on the play, Allen answered, "It's a judgment call."

Immediately after the game, wide receiver Derek Hagan and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly criticized the no-call.

"Obviously the refs, sometimes they're going to make the calls, sometimes they're not," Hagan said. "I definitely don't want to rip into them, but I really felt like it was one of those calls that should've been made.

"But they didn't throw the flag; they missed it. Sometimes they're going to miss calls, and it's very unfortunate that a teammate of ours is down and injured right now."

Allen did not say when Heyward-Bey might return. The Raiders have only four wide receivers on the active roster without Heyward-Bey, and Allen said he and general manager Reggie McKenzie likely would discuss whether to add a wideout.

Tight end Brandon Myers, who also suffered a concussion late in the game, felt "fine" Monday but still must go through the league concussion protocol, Allen said.

Message delivered – Allen is always cool, calm and collected when talking to reporters and in front of cameras. But apparently he can be pretty creative when it comes to motivating his players.

When the Raiders' locker room was opened to the media Monday, a handful of lockers held wooden baseball bats engraved with "Raiders vs. Steelers," the date of Sunday's game and the words "Bring the Wood." Linebacker Philip Wheeler said each player received a bat a couple of days before the game.

"That was the theme, man. Coach D.A. was telling us it's going to be one of those fights you've got to swing our bats for 60 minutes, and that's what we did," Wheeler said. "We had to bring the wood, and they gave us the wooden bats. We brought the wood, and we swung it for 60 minutes."

Indeed, the Raiders never led until Sebastian Janikowski made a game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired. Allen, who didn't mention the bats last week or in his news conference Monday, gave a modest review of the Raiders' first win in his tenure.

"Anytime you have success, it reinforces the message that you've been trying to preach, so it was good for our players, for our staff, for our organization to see some of the fruits of our labor," Allen said. "Listen, we're not a finished product. We've still got a lot of work to do."

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