For whatever has and hasn’t been said about the Joe Haden suspension, let me add this.
He’s a really good player. He’s a really important player to the Browns, and not just because he played all 95 defensive snaps in the season opener Sunday.
Haden’s not perfect, but he is a blue-chipper. The Browns don’t have many of those. Many, many teams with better rosters than the Browns have wish they had cornerbacks like Haden. Again, maybe he’s not quite elite; I don’t know. He’s indisputably a premium player at a premium position.
I asked Browns general manager Tom Heckert in August if he thought Haden would take a leap this year into the category of the elite. This was about a week before the first leak of the possible suspension.
Here’s what Heckert said: “I don’t see why not. Even last year with no interceptions, he played really well and he just couldn’t catch the ball for some unknown reason. He was up there with the league leaders in passes defensed and that stuff, but he couldn’t catch the ball.
“He’s a phenom athlete and a great competitor. I think he’s up there with the top corners in the league and I think we’ll see that this season.
“Joe is a super competitor. He competes all the time. I think he’ll have a great year.”
He still might. It’s just on hold for a month, at a time the Browns really could have used some good news.