Former University of Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, who suffered a life-threatening injury during practice in November, confirms he has been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine next month in Indianapolis.
Hayden has recovered from an injury that 95 percent of the time is fatal.
Now he will have a chance to show the NFL he is on his way to being able to play at the next level.
"It means a lot to me," Hayden said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "I feel honored.
"I've been watching the Combine since I was a little kid and I was like 'man, I want to be up there one day.' For me to get invited I'm just thankful and truly blessed to be even thought of in that category."
Hayden acknowledged that initially he was surprised he received the invitation, considering what he has been through.
"A little bit," Hayden said. "Once I got hurt I thought they almost forgot about me. I was kind of surprised.
"I'm one of those type of people (that says) 'I'll believe it when I see it.' That's how I am."
Hayden said he will have a message for the folks from the NFL.
"That this injury happened for the best. It helped me mature and just looking at everything, not just football. It made me look at life in a different way.
"I appreciate more stuff now. I don't take it for granted like I used to. It helped me become a better man."
And Hayden's message will include that he will be playing football again very soon.
"Yes sir," Hayden said.
One of Hayden's agents, Graylan Crain, said Hayden officially received the invitation earlier this week.
"He'll do everything that everyone else is going to do," Crain said. "He just won't work out. He'll do the medical evaluations, interview with teams, the psychological testing.
"He'll be there all four days, like all of the players will."
Hayden continues to work out in Houston, preparing for when he will be able to resume football-related activities.
"(UH team physician) Dr. (Walter) Lowe and (professional football training expert) Danny Arnold have spoken repeatedly about how quickly D.J. is recovering, and how much faster he is recovering than the average patient,"
said Jeff Nalley, Hayden's agent."