When was the last time Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden was healthy? well, if you go by games, the last and only time that he played a season in which he did not miss a game was his rookie season in 2010. He missed only one game in three of his next four seasons, but he has missed 5, 11, and 3 in the other three.
He missed three games last year and 11 the year before, and he has also played frequently through injuries, so let’s just say that it’s been a while since Haden, the former first-round draft pick, has been able to say that he feels fully healthy on the field.
But that is what he is saying now, after he underwent surgery early in this offseason to repair multiple groin tears. He was a full participant in every aspect of the Browns’ offseason workouts, which is an excellent sign for his health.
“I feel healthy. I’m ready to go”, he told reporters during OTAs. “I’m just super excited to be able to be out here for OTAs, being able to just try new stuff – just coming out of my breaks and feeling good, feeling like I can open up, feeling like I can run and just not feeling any restrictions”.
That was followed up by full participation in minicamp, and he is expected to open up training camp fully healthy for the first time in a while, something that the veteran cornerback is looking forward to—as is the team, who has had to weather his injuries on the field along with him.
While he has still been able to put up some numbers even while injured—he recorded three interceptions with 11 passes defensed last year with 48 tackles in his 13 games played—he knows as well as anybody that he has not been at his best.
Cleveland didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the secondary during the draft, but they did bring in veteran cornerback Jason McCourty, who will presumably start there opposite Haden. In the slot, they will have the option of going with either Jamar Taylor or last year’s rookie surprise, Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
That might not be a crew that is going to keep offensive coordinators up at night trying to prepare their passing game for their upcoming game against the Browns, but it should still offer some hope for improvement.
A healthy Haden may prove to be the biggest difference. While he has always gotten his hands on a lot of passes—he has 100 passes defensed in just 90 games played in his career, on top of 19 interceptions—he has had issues on a down-to-down basis when he has been injured.