As a former first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns and a resident of the city for seven years, it would be fair to say that Joe Haden still has a lot of love for Cleveland. And while this is disturbing to note from a Pittsburgh Steelers player, it is somewhat understandable considering the path Haden took to the Steel City.
Given his popularity with some sections of the Browns fanbase, it was perhaps unsurprising to see Haden acting as a captain for a charity softball game against a team led by Cleveland receiver Jarvis Landry on Saturday. But Steelers fans might wish he would try a little less hard in the future after seeing him take a fall when chasing a foul ball during the game.
Thankfully, Haden seemed uninjured by his tumble, and with the game called off due to rain a later in the day, he was saved from anymore unnecessary heroics that could damage him.
Left with little else to do but to speak to the assembled Cleveland media at the event, Haden would be asked an endless series of question about the chances of his former team in 2019, with his answers showing just how much regard he had for the Browns and their fans.
From a Pittsburgh perspective, the only comments worth passing on were his remarks about the Steelers’ prospects this year, with Haden confident the team has the potential to make some noise in 2019.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have a chance and I feel like JuJu Smith-Schuster, he’s a great receiver. I feel like James Conner, he’s been doing his thing. We have one of the best offensive lines in the league. And we’ve got Ben, that’s been doing it for so long, won championships and won everything like that.
“I feel like we have great defensive players, bringing in Bush, our D-line’s crazy. Offensive line, I feel like they’re the best in the league. So we just gotta put it all together too.’’
While a fan of Haden’s game long before he arrived in Pittsburgh, I am doing my best to deluded myself into believing he has no real lasting affection for Cleveland. If you have ever visited the Mistake on the Lake, you will understand how strange it is to have any affection for the city.