Joe Haden ‘Just Excited’ Following 7 ‘Tough’ Years In Cleveland

As he embarks on his third game against a divisional opponent in a new uniform, Pittsburgh Steelers—and former Cleveland Browns—veteran cornerback Joe Haden has been asked a number of times this past week to reflect on how different things have been over the course of the past couple of months compared to his first seven years in the league.

Seven years in Cleveland was tough”, he had to admit, according to the team’s website. “I gave it my all. Was fighting for it. I am excited just being here with this team, building with these guys, bonding with these guys. Our defense is good and we feel like it can be better than how we are playing. I am just excited”.

He said it has been a different experience with his teammates actively and openly talking about the playoffs and seeing his team actually heading into games favored to win—things that rarely ever came up during his tenure with the Browns.

“It starts from the top down, the relationships with your owner, general manager and coach being on the same page. It starts there”, he told reporters this week. “It’s black and white how Coach Tomlin lets you know where you stand, what you need to do to still be on the team, what you need to do or you will be off the team. There is no grey area where people stand”.

He previously talked about how there is less pressure to play on the Steelers’ defense because of the talent around him, where he felt less of a burden to need to be the best player on the field, or to cover for his teammates, and is instead able to just go out there every week and worry about his own assignments, rather than everybody else’s.

And while the secondary really hasn’t been tested all that significantly thus far—though they did a nice job last week of keeping the Chiefs’ suddenly deadly offense in check, in Kansas City no less—there is no denying the numbers, as they are allowing fewer than 160 passing yards per game at just 5.7 yards per pass attempt, picking off more passes than have gone for touchdowns.

It’s still early in the season, and they still have the likes of Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady on deck, but their performance has been good so far, and Haden has admittedly had a fair bit to do with it, settling into his role over the past few weeks after being brought in very late in the process when he was released in August.

Though he seemed like he genuinely loved Cleveland and playing for those fans there, he hasn’t looked back, and has embraced his new opportunities in Pittsburgh. “I am having a blast. I am having a good time”, he said. “I could play here for 15 more years.”

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Jaybird

    I can’t help but read articles about the Steelers secondary and just smile. Man did we wait a long time to see a decent secondary. I think by December this group of DBs will be lights out if they can stay healthy.
    Good article Matt!

  • Milton Farfara

    What a class act Haden has shown to be. Also, a pretty good signing by the Steelers. Let’s hope he keeps it up on the stairway to seven.

  • Rich Stafford

    I loved Haden when he was drafted. I think people get too caught up in straight line speed with Corners. He checked all the boxes for a CB. Great in and out of his back peddle and smooth change of direction. Joe has also has most important qualities for a corner ball skills and swagger.

  • James Churchwell

    I ‘ve noticed that a lot of times when I want to make a comment about an article or someone, someone else has already did it and Rich Stafford you beat me to it, and I thank you, So all I can say is I concur on your assessment about Joe Haden…..I guess great minds DO think alike 🙂

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Nice article MM

  • Steeler B

    a good add to our roster. lucky he fell our way at the last minute.
    looks like our secondary is improving from where we were just a few years ago.

  • 6 ring circus

    Jay, it’s been so long that I’m going to wait until December! I hope they continue to add to the resume. Hell, by the time January rolls around, I hope it’s a Superbowl worthy resume.