As the Cleveland Browns get ready to face the New York Giants tomorrow, Joe Haden can only sit back from his Florida home and watch as he serves the final game of his suspension. There is a reason Browns fans are pretty upset about Haden missing the last four games due to testing positive for the banned substance Adderall. Say it isn’t so, Joe.
Known as one of the NFL‘s good guys, all the pieces were in place for Haden to have a Pro Bowl year. Over the last three years, he has crept up in to top five cornerback status. Haden holds a special place in Cleveland’s heart because of his charity events, appearances at special occasions and the fact that he will stop and talk to just about anyone. So when Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Haden, it was not only a huge blow to the Browns’ secondary, but to the entire Cleveland fan base as well.
Selected with the seventh overall pick in 2010, the Browns got just what they were looking for in Haden. With his speed and physicality, Haden has manifested in to the physical defensive back they desperately needed. His responsibility includes covering the top receiver on every team.
In last season’s heart breaking opening day loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Haden locked and shut down highly touted first round pick AJ Green for pretty much the entire game. It wasn’t until the Bengals caught the Browns sleeping and hurried to the line to snap the ball that Green caught his first ball. Unfortunately, it was a touchdown and put the Bengals up for good to go on winning 27-17.
Nonetheless, before his suspension, Haden is seen week in and week out, deflecting passes and mixing it up with opponents on the line of scrimmage. In the Browns’ season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, #23 registered an interception, six tackles and a handful of pass break ups. In three games after, he is sorely missed in the defensive secondary.
One more crucial game to go, then Haden can get back to doing his best impression of Sherwin Williams, “Covering the World”. Until then, for the first time in his Browns career, Haden is on the other side of the fence watching, like all of us.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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