Haden: 'I have never been a part of this'

Posted Jan 12, 2018

This & That gives Joe Haden's take of his first playoff game, and the excitement all around.

A long time coming: Joe Haden stood at his locker and answered question after question. Didn’t matter what the question was, he was happy to answer it.

And as the cameras all turned off their lights, and everyone walked away, his smile was still there. When I asked him how excited he was, you could hear it immediately in his voice.
“I am really excited,” said Haden. “The only thing is I don’t want to get myself too hyped. I am telling myself, it’s still a football game. Joe you have to go out and do what you have been doing and you are going to be fine. I am really excited, I am doing everything I normally do, playing in the scheme.”  

Haden might be the happiest guy in the Steelers locker room. In his eighth season in the NFL, this is his first time he has made it to the postseason, after playing his first seven seasons in Cleveland.

“This is exactly what I signed here for,” said Haden. “I knew what they had here. I have played against them for seven years and they have been going to the playoffs every year. I knew if I could get here and be a part of it, it would be special.

“It’s definitely refreshing because it’s something I never had before. It’s something new. I have never been a part of this.”

What he also has never been a part of is a playoff atmosphere on game day, and he knows Heinz Field is going to be alive.

“I can’t watt,” said Haden. “It’s going to be crazy. I am excited to get some of that juice.” 

Even keeled: Mike Mitchell isn’t denying it for a minute. It’s the postseason, and of course he is excited. This is what the players play for all season.

But Mitchell, a nine-year veteran, knows know to manage that excitement.

“I am always excited,” said Mitchell. “Any time you can be in the dance and have an opportunity. It’s something we think about on a daily basis. Now that it’s really real, it’s exciting.

“At the end of the day we can’t get overly excited. We have to stay even keeled.”

It’s electric: If there is one thing the players know about Sunday, it’s that Heinz Field is going to be a sea of Terrible Towels and the fans are going to be at a fever pitch. And they can’t wait for it. 

“Steelers Nation all the way turned up…electric,” said Marcus Gilbert. “I think our fans are going to be going nuts, especially since we didn’t give them what they wanted in the first game, in the first go-around. I bet they come prepared like I know they will.”