It’s Just Like Starting Over
Browns cornerback Joe Haden on the new regime in Cleveland, plus Deion, LeBron and how marriage has changed him
1. I think new coordinator Ray Horton is going to change our defense because he blitzes a lot more. He’s going to be a whole lot more aggressive than we’ve been in the past.
2. I think my goal is to be the No. 1 corner in this league. That’s what I’m shooting for. Going into this season, at least get elite status, which is like one of the top five corners in the league. You want to be recognized by your peers and by coaches.
3. I think last year was going to be my breakout season, but when I got suspended for four games [for violating the league's PED policy], that really held me back. This year I’ve been working the whole offseason, trying to get ready. I’ve been working on my weaknesses, tightening up my press coverage and my footwork at the line. I’m going to play the whole year, so that will get me to that elite status.
4. I think A.J. Green is the toughest receiver I face. He’s in our division, so we see him twice a year. He was at Georgia when I was at Florida, so I played him then, and he is still super good.
5. I think there’s a new feeling in Cleveland. We have new ownership, we have new coaches, and the coaches are really good. We didn’t get coaches who don’t really have a good track record, we got coaches who have coached in Super Bowls, who have coached winning teams. They know what they are doing, and they know how to get the best out of their players.
6. I think Rob Chudzinski has connected with the players here because he listens to the leaders on this team, and he tries to make sure everyone is doing well. He has an open-door policy—you get to go up there, talk to him, have a normal conversation, and it doesn’t feel awkward.
7. I think there’s no comparison to what Deion Sanders did as a cornerback. People like Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, Champ Bailey, myself, we’re striving to get there, but the best to ever do it was Deion.
8. I think the Cleveland fans have so much soul; they’re really die-hard fans. This is a football town, and they just show love, and they show support. They come out here to training camp and they love it, and I love that.
9. I think the best thing about being newly married is security, being with the person I love, and she loves me. It takes away the whole aspect of having to date—you’ve got your soulmate, and it’s just a lot more relaxing.
10. I think my favorite basketball player is LeBron James, but I don’t try to blast it, not in Cleveland. But he’s one of the best players to ever play, and I’ve been a fan of his ever since he was in high school.
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