Steelers Secondary Coach Grady Brown On Offseason Loss Of Joe Haden: ‘I’ll Miss Joe Tremendously’

There’s surely a large number of fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are upset that veteran cornerback Joe Haden wasn’t retained this offseason after his contract expired back in March. They aren’t the only ones, however, as even Steelers secondary coach Grady Brown is sad to not have Haden back in his position group this offseason.

“Joe was awesome,” Brown told Missi Matthews of during a one-on-one interview last week. “Let me just say that you talk about me being a rookie NFL coach last year, Joe was awesome. He taught me a lot of those differences between the college game and between the pro game and how to approach players and everything like that. And I’ll miss Joe tremendously as a person and just as a player. I mean, I can’t say enough great things about his personality. I don’t know if he’s ever had a bad day.”

Haden, who is still currently unsigned after becoming an unrestricted free agent in March, had been with the Steelers the last five seasons. Not surprisingly, he easily became one of the team’s leaders on the defensive side of the football after being signed as a street free agent just before the start of the 2017 regular season. This past offseason, however, the Steelers chose to get younger in the secondary as not only was 27-year-old cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon re-signed, but the team also agreed to terms with an outside free agent cornerback in soon-to-be-27-year-old Levi Wallace, previously of the Buffalo Bills.

While Brown was a newcomer to the Steelers and the NFL last season, you could tell during his interview with Matthews that Haden really helped him transition smoothly to his new surroundings

“And so, we’ll all miss Joe and but just him being around and his energy that he brought every day,” Brown said of Haden. “And there was an eagerness to learn. You know, he wanted to know whatever it was that I wanted, that I had to teach him. And we’ll definitely miss him around here.”

While Haden hasn’t yet signed with a new team this offseason, he has still been in the news nonetheless as it was announced in late March that he will be honored this coming fall by his alma mater of Florida as part of the school’s 2022 Hall of Fame class. Haden, who played at Florida from 2007-2009, started all 40 games in that span and was a key member of their 2008 BCS national title team.

It will certainly be interesting to see where the 33-year-old Haden ultimately lands later this summer, as he has been linked to a few teams in recent weeks, with one of them being the Cleveland Browns, the team that originally drafted him. While unlikely to happen, Haden could wind up back with the Steelers should the team suffer an injury to one of its perceived starters. It’s safe to say that if Haden were to ultimately be re-signed that Brown would welcome him back into his position group with open arms.

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