After spending seven years in Cleveland, it’s no surprise Joe Haden was looking to go somewhere with stability at head coach and quarterback. So when the Browns released him, making the short travel to Pittsburgh was an easy choice. On a fan call via Steelers Nation Unite yesterday after practice, Haden walked through what made the Steelers his next stop.
“Ben and Coach T were the primary reasons I came to the Steelers as a free agent,” Haden said during the fan Q&A. “I knew Ben was a baller. I played against him for years. Meeting Coach T in the draft process, I loved him. Ben is a Hall of Fame quarterback who can throw the ball, put it in any spot. He makes us better in practice as a secondary.”
Haden was unceremoniously released by Cleveland on August 30th, 2017 after injuries sapped his availability and effectiveness. Haden refused a paycut to stay with the team. Immediately after being cut, he inked a three-year contract with the Steelers, giving them a #1 corner they had lacked for years. That even meant turning down more money from other teams all in an effort to join Pittsburgh’s winning culture.
At the time, Haden made a similar statement as yesterday.
“Just the opportunity to be with an organization where I know their structure,” he said the day after signing.“For me, my fit, talking to my agent, talking to my family, I just felt like this would be the best fit for me.”
Haden’s proved to be worth the money. He’s started 31 of 32 games the last two seasons, picking off five passes a year ago while being named to his first Pro Bowl since 2014. A leader in the cornerback room, he’s also a sure tackler who plays the run hard, making up an impressive duo alongside Steven Nelson.
Now, he’s looking for his first playoff win in a Steelers’ uniform. Pittsburgh’s collapsed down the stretch the last two seasons but have a strong roster heading into 2020 thanks to the return of Ben Roethlisberger on offense and Stephon Tuitt on defense. Despite the lack of success the last two seasons, Haden’s still witnessed how differently Pittsburgh’s run.
“It’s very stable here. From the owner, to the general manager, to the head coach, they are on the same page and get it…they treat people well. They have good people in the organization. Everything works together here.”