When the 2018 season ended, Joe Haden stood at his locker and said how much he enjoyed playing for the Steelers the past two seasons.
“I am really happy with the Steelers,” said Haden. “I really like being here.”
Well, there is good news. Haden will remain in black and gold through the 2021 season after signing a new three-year contract.
“Just being able to come into year 10, feel as healthy as I have in a couple of years,” said Haden. “It’s a blessing. You never take these opportunities for granted.”
Haden still had one-year remaining on a the contract he signed prior to the 2017 season, after being released by the Cleveland Browns.
“Joe is a special guy. He has special talents,” said Coach Mike Tomlin has said. “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.”
One play that will always stick out in the minds of Steelers fans is his interception against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field in 2018.
The Steelers were leading 14-10 with 7:51 to play in the game and the Patriots driving. On second-and-goal from the 16-yard line, Tom Brady was under pressure from Stephon Tuitt and threw it up for Julian Edelman. Haden went airborne, defending Edelman and came down with the interception at the four-yard line, managing to stay in bounds to give the Steelers the ball back at a crucial time and serve as a turning point in the game. While it wasn’t just that play, it was a key one in him receiving AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
“Joe Haden’s the man,” said T.J. Watt. “He’s the man, he practices so hard.”
Haden, who played at the University of Florida, was selected by the Browns with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2013 and 2014, including serving as a Pro Bowl captain in 2014.
“He’s made Pro Bowls and has done it all,” said Mike Hilton. “He takes the No. 1 receiver out of the game, and we trust Joe, and we know he’s going to do his job every week.”
Haden has 22 career interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown, and three with the Steelers. He has played in 116 career games, starting 107, and has 452 tackles, 367 of them solo stops, adding 120 pass defenses, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three sacks.
Haden was named Special Olympics’ Global Ambassador in 2015, an organization he got involved with because his younger brother, Jacob, is a Special Olympics athlete and his inspiration.
Take a look at some of the best photos of Joe Haden during his career with the Steelers