2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns' Haden moves into elite cornerback class

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-21 15:51

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - The darkest days in Joe Haden's life lit his path to prominence.

Suspended last year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, Cleveland's lock-down cornerback took a hard look at himself and knew he had to make changes. It was time to grow up. Get serious.

''When I got suspended that really slowed me down and made me settle down,'' Haden said. ''The whole suspension thing got me to where I am now.''

Haden has moved into the elite class of NFL defensive backs. Coming off the best game of his career - two interceptions, one for a touchdown return against Cincinnati - Haden credited much of his personal turnaround with a dramatic lifestyle change, most notably his marriage last June to longtime girlfriend, Sarah.

''I think it's mostly, honestly, the way I'm living,'' said the affable Haden. ''Just me and my wife, I have a really good relationship with her. We're doing super well just relaxing all the time. I've been studying the Bible a whole lot more and I'm just really comfortable with myself and how my life is going, and honestly that's what really got me here.

''It's just football now, all football.''

And Haden is playing it better than ever.

On Sunday, he clamped down on Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green for the second time this season, holding him to just two catches for 7 yards. Week after week, Haden covers the other team's top receiver and he's done his job almost flawlessly.

So far this season, he's matched up with six former Pro Bowl receivers and has limited the group, which includes Green, Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Miami's Mike Wallace, to 17 receptions for 147 yards and zero touchdowns.

With a laminated map of the Hawaiian Islands taped to the inside of his locker to give him motivation to make the Pro Bowl, he has become Haden Island.

''He embodies everything you want in a young corner,'' said Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton. ''He's athletic, he's smart, he's tough, and he's a very good person on top of that.''

Haden's maturity as a person and player has been noticeable to teammates as well as to teams preparing to face him.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be mindful of No. 23 when the Steelers (4-6) visit the Browns (4-6) on Sunday in a game that could knock the loser from the playoff race.

''He's a guy right now that's playing at a really high level,'' Roethlisberger said on a conference call. ''He may be playing the best of any cornerback that we've seen all year.''

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin spoke in glowing terms about Haden, who burst onto the scene with six interceptions as a rookie in 2010.

''I don't believe any corner is playing better that we have faced,'' Tomlin said. ''He's good on the line, he's good off the ball. He's got great peripheral vision. He can feel receivers and look at the quarterback. He's very difficult to trick because of those things. He's just a very talented player whose experience is catching up with this talent. And the end result is he's one of the best at what he does.''

It's not that Haden was acting like a wild man before this season. He liked to have fun and his accessibility, good-natured attitude and genuine love for Cleveland endeared him to Browns fans.

But his four-game suspension for using Adderall last year changed the way some people viewed him.

Haden sat out Weeks 2-5, and the Browns went 0-4 without their best defensive player. Unable to be around his teammates during the suspension, he went home to Maryland and stayed with his parents.

As tough as that time was on him emotionally, the break gave him a chance to prioritize. He prayed. He came back determined to be a better man, a better player. Once he got engaged everything fell into place.

''I just knew it was about time, he said. ''It was the right girl, good girl, perfect. Just amazing.

''Honestly, just the way of life changed me. That's the truth.''

Haden said Horton has made a huge impact on his on-field growth. Horton has been demanding, pushing Haden to raise his game. One of Horton's tools to goad Haden has been to compare him with Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson. Horton coached Peterson for two seasons.

''He's definitely different than any coach I have ever had,'' Haden said. ''He does not really talk too much to me, he just always says little smart remarks about not doing what I should or if I am doing good, he will give me little comments.

''He mostly just lets me do me.''

Haden is doing it better than ever.

---

AP NFL website: -www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

Billy WinnOct 30 06:22p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DE Phil Taylor (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson, who carried the ball just three times for seven yards in Week 8, said he's frustrated with his limited role in the offense. [ More ]

Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 30 05:22p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group