Christian Kirksey: Joe Haden is great player, great person for Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND -- Two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Joe Haden is the type of person his teammates want on the Cleveland Browns’ roster.

To his teammates, Haden is the kind of player who gets the job done on the field because of how he handles himself in the week leading up to games, which sets an important example to the younger athletes in the locker room.

“First off, Joe is a tremendous player,” Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “He has been to multiple Pro Bowls, but most of all, he is a great person, a great friend. I would love for him to be a teammate of mine, but those are things that are way above my head. I don’t really know what to say about all of that, but Joe has definitely been a great person for us and a great player for us.”

Before the Browns took the field for their final practice of the preseason ahead of their trip to Chicago for the exhibition finale against the Bears at Soldier Field Thursday night, reports surfaced Tuesday about the team looking to trade the two-time Pro Bowl defender.

Currently in the third season of a five-year contract extension, Haden is due to make $14.4 million during the 2017 season.

“He is still out here making plays,” Kirksey said. “I think this is one of his best camps, this year. He has been hurt in past years, but he has definitely come out here and competed. He is a leader on this defense, and he has been a leader to these young guys, so Joe has done everything great for us and I just hope that he is still with us.”

Since signing the long-term contract extension, Haden has missed 15 games because of a wide variety of injuries, everything from a pair of concussions that short-circuited his 2015 season to finger and groin issues that forced him to the sideline for multiple games.

A first-round pick out of the University of Florida in the 2010 NFL Draft, Haden registered 376 total tackles, including 311 solo stops, 65 assists, two sacks, 101 passes defended, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 19 interceptions, which he returned for 231 yards and one touchdown, in his seven professional seasons.

Haden has made 81 starts in 90 games for the Browns, but missed 22 contests due to multiple injuries.

“One thing about Joe, he is going to come out here every day,” Kirksey said. “He is going to work hard, he is going to lead us and he is going to control what he can control.

“He is not the type of person that is going to talk too much about his business and things like that that are going on -- come out here during this last little practice before we do the dress rehearsal for Chicago and you can come out here just being the best teammate you can possibly be.”

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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