After seven years in Cleveland, it’s hard to blame Joe Haden for wanting to go to a winning team. In his first interview since being signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haden said the team’s strong organization was the deciding factor in signing.
“Just the opportunity to be with an organization where I know their structure,” he told Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews. “For me, my fit, talking to my agent, talking to my family, I just felt like this would be the best fit for me.”
He met the team in Charlotte yesterday, where the team is prepping to play their preseason finale, meeting with Mike Tomlin and owner Art Rooney II. He told Matthews after talking to them, and knowing what he knew about the Steelers already, he could “tell the organization was run really well.”
Haden confirmed Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas all submitted offers. But the Steelers’ history and the relationships he had with the players sealed the deal.
“I’ve known Pouncey and Gilbert. We went to college together, won a National Championship. Coach Tomlin, every time we play against the Steelers, we always speak to each other before the game. So we had a nice relationship, even since the Combine.”
Pouncey posted on Instagram prior to the signing for Haden to come to Pittsburgh. Gilbert made a similar post following the news he had inked a three year deal with the team.
While he doesn’t have much time to get comfortable with the defense, Haden said there is a level of familiarity.
“I played for Coach Ray Horton. And it’s kind of the same defense. Just a little bit of the terminology is different….it’s going to be a quick learning experience.”
Horton served as the Steelers DB coach from 2004 to 2010 and has had two stints with the Cleveland Browns. A short learning curve will be helpful; Haden is expected to start Week One against his old team.
Check out the entire interview with Matthews, which we’ll again link right here.