PITTSBURGH – Usually, Steelers cornerback Joe Haden would be sitting at home this time of year.
Haden was not even close to the postseason in the first seven seasons of his career as a first-round draft pick for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns won 29 games combined while Haden was with the franchise and the 2017-18 group became the second team in the NFL with a 0-16 record. Between 2010 and 2016, during this time of the year, Haden was back home in California, watching other teams play on television.
“I was telling them (to my teammates) that I was watching them play against Patriots last year,” he said. “I was sitting in my chair and I had always been doing that, watching good teams … I had been in off season for two weeks, three weeks, and there were still teams playing football.
“And now other teams are watching me, ‘oh, he’s still playing.’ And I say, ‘Yeah, we’re still here.'”
As Haden prepares for their first preseason game, the Browns, who dropped him in August, have to deal with a parade that some fans are preparing on Saturday as a kind of mockery for their season with a 0-16 mark.
“It is what it is,” Haden said. “I feel like if you’re so miserable as to have a parade for a record of 0-16, have fun.”
“I think it’s rough, they finished with a 0-16 mark, neither the organization nor anyone else is happy with that, I feel that, like the fans, they will not be happy to hold a parade for the 0-16, I think it’s really tough” .
Haden feels everything, less miserable, after signing with Steelers. He started ten games in the regular season and helped the team achieve a 13-3 record and a first-round bye bye season.
This weekend, Haden will be watching football from his couch again, but this time, with the certainty that there is more game waiting for him.
“It’s weird, because it’s like saying, we’re in the playoffs and we do not even have to play this week, I feel like, ‘what the hell?’ Haden joked.

It is a strange feeling for Haden to know that the misery of a 0-16 season could have been his reality.

“It’s probably very, very hard,” he said, noting that he still watches the Browns games whenever possible. “You always try to see yourself in the mirror and understand what else you could have done, what I could have done better to win a game or two, it’s hard for everyone, it’s hard for the coaching staff, for the players.”
In some way, this new success is strange to him. Haden pointed to 22-year-old cornerback Artie Burns, who has more postseason experience than he has, after playing this instance of the calendar last year as a rookie. But he firmly believes that everything happens for a reason.
“At the time the Browns dropped me, everyone said, ‘Oh, the Browns cut Joe’ and you do not want to see him like that,” Haden said. “I was seeing it as an opportunity to get further in my career somewhere else.
“I did the best I could for seven years, I played really hard, I gave them everything I had, so when I was discharged, the feeling was more to say, ‘Okay, I think you’ll want to go somewhere else’, but it was a blessing to play where I wanted “.


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