Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden did a lot of his offseason training at UCLA and there are several videos on social media showing the work that he put in while out in southern California. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was one of several other NFL players that worked out with Haden at UCLA and while he and the Steelers cornerback are certainly great friends, the two decided it was in their collective best interests to not do any one-on-one drills against each other during their training sessions.
“Oh, no, no, no,” Haden told Rich Eisen during a one-on-one interview Monday morning when asked if he and Beckham lined up against each other on the practice field any this offseason. “I think, Odell’s funny, we were supposed to be doing some one-on-ones and stuff, but you know, we’re playing each other twice a year, so he kinda doesn’t want to give away his stuff and I don’t want to kind of [want to, either]. So, you know.”
Haden talked a little bit more about his friendship with Beckham.
“It’s fun hanging out, but we’re really, really competitive,” Haden said. “He wants to get the best of me, obviously, and I want to do the same. But it’s friendly competition.”
Haden was later asked if it’s normal to not practice against wide receivers from other teams during the offseason and his response included him saying that he expects to be covering Beckham quite a bit during the 2019 regular season.
“No, not all, but just I think me and Odell this year, It’s just, and I feel like during the year I’m going to be following around,” Haden told Eisen. “I think when we play against them, I’m going to be traveling. I will be traveling with 13.”
This will certainly be something to look for come the Steelers first of two games in 2019 against the Browns. That first meeting between the two teams will take place in Week 11 and in Cleveland. The two teams will then meet again just two weeks later in Pittsburgh in Week 13.
Haden and Beckham have faced each other in the NFL just once to date and that happened in 2016 when the New York Giants beat the Browns in Cleveland 27-13. As a Giants wide receiver in that 2016 win over the Browns, Beckham caught 6 passes for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. 4 of those receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown came with Haden in coverage. Haden did have a pass breakup on one of those 9 targets to Beckham, however. You can see highlights of Beckham from that game below.
Not surprisingly, Haden named Beckham on Monday as one of the three toughest wide receivers in the NFL that are currently the hardest to cover. He mentioned him second after former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and just ahead of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.