The Pittsburgh Steelers received some good news on the heath front on Tuesday as starting cornerback Joe Haden reportedly returned to practice earlier in the day after missing the last several with an ankle injury he sustained during a training camp practice just ahead of the team’s first preseason game.
According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Haden said Tuesday afternoon that he’s in the 90 percent range when it comes to gauging his overall health. When asked if he’d play against the New England Patriots if the game were to take place this week, Haden reportedly said “1,000%.”
That’s certainly great news in regard to Haden and it now appears as though he’ll definitely start in the team’s regular season opener against the Patriots. Haden, however, still isn’t likely to play Thursday night in the Steelers preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
With the Steelers first regular season game of 2019 now less than two weeks away, Haden was asked on Tuesday to update his ongoing contract extension negotiations with the Steelers and the veteran cornerback obliged that request.
“Man, we’re still working, we’re still working,” Haden said, according to 93.7 The Fan. “It’s been a long process but I’m still optimistic, still hoping that everything goes down. But time is ticking so we’ll see. We’ve got a couple of days, we’ll figure it out.”
The Steelers have a longstanding self-imposed deadline of the team’s Week 1 game to get new contracts done with players so if Haden doesn’t sign an extension prior to the team’s opener against the Patriots getting underway, he’ll need to wait until after the season for talks to continue. Haden is now in the final year of his current contract with the Steelers and thus scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March if he doesn’t sign an extension prior to then.