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Haden, Edmunds win PFWA awards

It’s that time of year when the honors are handed out and that was the case on Wednesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Joe Haden and Terrell Edmunds were both honored by the Pittsburgh Chapter of Pro Football Writers of America.

Haden was named the recipient of the “The Chief Award,” which was established in honor of Steelers’ founder, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., and is presented annually to a member of the Steelers’ organization that best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media that he embodied.

Haden is two things that help make the job easier for the media – approachable and available. He never shies away from talking, never turns anyone down, and his answers are always insightful and respectful, through the good and the bad.

“Win, lose or draw, my dad always told me never get too high when you are doing good, never get too low when you get down,” said Haden. “Always stay even-keeled as possible so you can always be who you are and just stay humble.

“It means a lot to me getting this named after Art Rooney Sr. I can only imagine how good of a guy he was. To be able to talk to people, be engaged and stay even-keeled is something I try to do. I was raised by my mom and dad well. It’s just treat people the way you want to be treated.” 

Haden won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the New England Patriots in Week 15, the first time he has won the honor in his career. Haden intercepted Tom Brady as the Patriots were driving for a go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown, helping to secure the 17-10 win. He also led the Steelers defense with 12 tackles and added two pass defenses.

Coming off the Patriots game where things went well for Haden, the Saints game was almost opposite where he was called for two pass interference calls, two calls that everyone who watches football questioned their validity. But after the game he still stood in the locker room and answered questions.

“You go from the Patriots game where I thought I was the man to the New Orleans game,” said Haden. “I gave my best effort, tried my hardest. Sometimes plays don’t go your way. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. That was one of the tougher ones.”

Haden also has consistently been a strong contributor on the field. He has 451 career tackles, 22 interceptions, six tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three sacks.

“Joe is a special guy. He has special talents,” said Tomlin. “His approach to it day in and day out. He is a steadying influence for a young secondary. We ask him to do a lot of things beyond A, B, and C. He does it all with a smile. We are glad he is a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

Haden is a steadying force for the defense both on and off the field, a shining example for the younger players in the secondary.

“Having a guy like that, who has been in the league for a long time, really helps the young guys,” said Cameron Sutton. “Just that experience and knowledge. He is always there, always helping guys get better, right or wrong. He is the big brother, mentor to all of the guys in the room. You can go to him about anything, whether it’s football or not.

“It’s great to have a guy like that who is so humble about what he does and comes to work every day to get better for himself and help the guys around him get better. To have a guy like that in your group is a big plus. You can’t do anything but respect him, look up to him and appreciate him.”

Edmunds, the Steelers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, received the “Joe Greene Great Performance Award,” given annually to the Steelers top rookie.

“It’s a blessing an honor to receive an award named after a legend like Joe Greene. That is amazing me to me,” said Edmunds. “I want to thank Mr. (Art) Rooney, Mr. (Kevin) Colbert, and Coach Tomlin for giving me the opportunity.

“When I first came in here I just wanted to put everything out there and show Coach and Mr. Colbert why they drafted me. I wanted to make the plays that came to me. My mind was always to go out there and play, whether it’s on special teams, defensive side of the ball. Just go out there, 100 percent in everything I did.

“I learned a lot this year. A lot of ups and downs throughout the season. I grew more as I got snaps under my belt. I got more involved on the field. I have made more plays, and now is the time to make more plays. I have to keep on developing.”

Edmunds, who has started 14 of the 15 games he played in this season, is fourth on the team in tackles with 69, including 49 solo stops. He has four pass defenses, three quarterback hurries, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. He also has four special teams tackles.

“I think he has a better knowledge of the defense,” said Haden. “Trying to get people in position, make calls, make checks. He is getting more comfortable out there playing.”

Edmunds said there have been both mental and physical adjustments as a rookie, and they are relatively balanced.

“I would say it’s about even,” said Edmunds. “It’s a different task and you are playing against grown men. You have to go out there and develop your game and transition into that atmosphere.”

“The Chief Award” Winners:
1988 - Dan Rooney
1989 - Dwayne Woodruff
1990 - Merril Hoge
1991 - Gerald Williams
1992 - Tunch Ilkin
1993 - D.J. Johnson
1994 - Rod Woodson
1995 - Levon Kirkland
1996 - Chad Brown
1997 - Darren Perry
1998 - Jerome Bettis
1999 - Lee Flowers
2000 - Jerome Bettis
2001 - Lee Flowers
2002 - Hines Ward
2003 - Mike Logan
2004 - Jerome Bettis
2005 - Alan Faneca
2006 - Brett Keisel & Deshea Townsend
2007 - Alan Faneca
2008 - Ryan Clark
2009 - James Farrior
2010 - Ben Roethlisberger
2011 - James Farrior
2012 - Casey Hampton
2013 - Ike Taylor
2014 - Cameron Heyward
2015 - Ramon Foster
2016 - Arthur Moats
2017 - David DeCastro
2018 - Joe Haden
2018 - Joe Haden

“Joe Greene Great Performance Award” Winners:
1984 - WR Louis Lipps
1985 - P Harry Newsome
1986 - LB Anthony Henton
1987 - CB Delton Hall
1988 - RB Warren Williams
1989 - SS Carnell Lake
1990 - TE Eric Green
1991 - TE Adrian Cooper
1992 - FS Darren Perry
1993 - LB Chad Brown
1994 - RB Bam Morris
1995 - QB Kordell Stewart
1996 - FB Jon Witman
1997 - CB Chad Scott
1998 - OG Alan Faneca
1999 - WR Troy Edwards
2000 - FB Dan Kreider
2001 - LB Kendrell Bell
2002 - OG Kendall Simmons
2003 - S Troy Polamalu
2004 - QB Ben Roethlisberger
2005 - TE Heath Miller
2006 - WR Santonio Holmes
2007 - P Daniel Sepulveda
2008 - LB Patrick Bailey
2009 - WR Mike Wallace
2010 - C Maurkice Pouncey
2011 - OT Marcus Gilbert
2012 - OT Mike Adams
2013 - RB Le’Veon Bell
2014 - WR Martavis Bryant
2015 - LB Bud Dupree
2016 - S Sean Davis
2017 - WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
2018 - S Terrell Edmunds

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