Hunter Renfrow hasn’t needed much time to develop into one of the best weapons in Derek Carr’s arsenal for the Oakland Raiders, but his latest injury could remove him from the equation altogether for the rest of the season.
The Raiders star rookie wide receiver reportedly broke a rib and punctured his lung during Sunday’s brutal 34-3 loss at the New York Jets, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Later Monday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden told reporters Renfrow may be done for the remainder of the season, pending further tests.
“He’ll be out for a while,” Gruden said Monday afternoon, confirming the injury ahead of the Raiders’ divisional matchup against the first-place Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13.
Renfrow was injured midway through Sunday’s second quarter after taking a shot from Jets cornerback Bless Austin, who was a little early to the ball — but deemed legal — in delivering a hit that left Renfrow down on the field for some time. He returned to the game and finished with three catches for 31 yards, but a tackle later in the game from Henry Anderson also contributed to the injury. Renfrow also appeared to be ailing in the postgame locker room, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
A fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Renfrow has averaged 11 yards on 36 receptions this season and has quickly gelled with the Raiders quarterback. He has only gotten better in the back half of his debut season, collecting 250 of his 396 total receiving yards in the four games prior to Sunday’s loss to the Jets.
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Injury Makes for Another Obstacle in Renfrow’s Journey
While the world of football sometimes curses us with short memories, it wasn’t so long ago that Renfrow had to overcome starting as a walk-on with Clemson before going on to become a two-time national champion with the Tigers. He eventually left the school as a legend after he hauled in a game-winning touchdown pass from current Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson to win the 2017 national title game over Alabama.
He also won the Burlsworth Trophy, which is awarded to the best collegiate player who began his career as a walk-on.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Renfrow said last Friday in an interview with The Silver & Black Show. “It’s wild to me to think six years ago I was paying for my school, I was a walk-on, I was wearing No. 35, which no receiver really wears. Just a lot of change, a lot of excitement. For me, I’ve been blessed to be a part of a lot of special people at Clemson who helped mold me into who I am and, thankfully, I have a group of good guys around, that’s helped me tremendously.”
Renfrow’s best game of his young career actually came with his former Clemson quarterback on the opposing sideline, as he caught four passes for 88 yards in the Raiders’ 27-24 loss to the Texans and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 65-yard reception from Carr.
With Renfrow’s year in doubt, though, the Raiders will need more from their receiving corps as Tyrell Williams (32 catches, 480 yards) is the only other true wideout with more than 100 receiving yards on the season. That potentially could come from former Packers receiver and return man Trevor Davis or even former Bills wideout Zay Jones.
The Raiders will also expectedly lean more on their other options in the passing game, which include tight end Darren Waller was a team-high 59 catches and 707 receiving yards as well as running backs Jalen Richards and Josh Jacobs.