This past Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin heaped praise on cornerback Joe Haden during his weekly press conference and on Friday the player returned the favor during his interview on The Jim Rome Show.
After first telling Jim Rome that Tomlin is the best head coach he’s ever played for, Haden then proceeded to tell what it is that separates the Steelers head coach from other NFL head coaches he’s already played for during his first seven seasons in the league with the Cleveland Browns.
“I think he’s very, very able to relate to players and at the same time with being able to relate, it’s a very, very black and white,” Haden said of Tomlin. “It’s not like he’s just going to sit there and be your friend and everything, he’s going to let you know exactly what it is. There’s no grey area with the Steelers with the roles, with what you bring to the team, with what you’re supposed to do, and I think he makes sure he keeps everybody accountable. He doesn’t hold any cards, he lets you know exactly where you stand and as far as players stand, that’s all you ask from a coach.”
Haden was the asked to reiterate if indeed that all NFL players want more than anything else from their head coach is for them to be straight with them.
“That’s all you want,” Haden said. “Because at the end of the day we realize, too, and the same what everybody realizes, it’s a business at the end of the day. So, some decisions that ya’ll are going to make we really won’t understand it, but you’re going to make your decisions. But if you keep it very, very black and white, let people know where they stand, what their role is, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing and what they’re not doing well enough. Then to tell them that you’re going to be ready to about lose your job if your play doesn’t pick up, if you can tell them that and then they can understand.”
Haden’s picture of Tomlin being a very player-friendly coach isn’t something that we haven’t heard before. It does, however, reinforce that known aspect of Tomlin’s coaching style even more. After praising Tomlin, Haden was then asked to describe what it means to him to be a member of the Steelers.
“I just love the way that they work,” Haden said. “And everything we’ve been talking about this whole year since I’ve been here is just been about what we’re chasing, we’re chasing the championship, we’re chasing the championship. And the way that everybody practices and the way that just this team is progressing and going up and getting better towards the end of the year, it just speaks volumes. And I’m just very, very happy to be a part of this and I can get used to this.”
I’m sure the Steelers could get very used to Haden being around a little while longer as well. The former first round draft pick of the Browns is currently under contract with the Steelers through the 2019 season.