There’s always a moment of doubt when a team makes a big free agency splash. Paying an outsider top dollar. Bringing someone into a new system, a new locker room, an entirely different place. But all things considered, Joe Haden seems to be fitting right in with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s what Mike Mitchell had to say yesterday appearing on The Jim Rome Show.
“Joe’s been excellent at joining our culture and being a type of guy we want in our room and on our defense and on our team,” Mitchell told Rome. “Super happy that we got him. I just look forward to continuing to see where we can grow and get to.”
Mitchell also pointed out this is the first time in Haden’s eight year career he’s started off 2-0 and the team is trying to keep the streak alive for him. In Cleveland, Haden began the year 0-2 more often than not, four times in seven seasons.
Losing was the norm. Not anymore.
Though not specifically about Haden’s assimilation into the locker room, Mike Tomlin today praised him for his physical nature and ability to blitz. We’ll break that down more during the week.
“Joe is a football player first,” Tomlin said. “Having competed against him over the course of seven years you see that in his play. He’s always been one that’s always been extremely physical in short-yardage and crack/replaces and stuff, he’s a guy that’s not just a cover guy. He’s a football player. He genuinely enjoys that element of the game.”
Mitchell also confirmed that Haden asked him to wear his #23, though those talks didn’t end up going anywhere. He settled on taking Robert Golden’s number.
“With the utmost respect, he did. We obviously weren’t going to make a big noise about it or discuss any numbers out to the public. But he did. But ultimately, he understands it means a lot to me…he’s totally happy in 21. He’s making a new legacy in 21.”
A new legacy that includes winning. The same legacy that includes being a great locker room presence.