BEREA, Ohio--Joe Haden said he's missed playing and has a new appreciation for the opportunity to play in the NFL. He said he expects to be ready for the season opener, if not sooner.
There were reports that came out after Haden's most recent surgery on March 16 on his ankle that he might not be ready for the regular season.
"It was a little upsetting because I just feel like the way that I'm going to be working, and the way that I'm going to try to get back, I'm going to be back definitely for sure not to miss any regular season time,'' he said. "I don't really know about training camp. That's the goal, try to get back but I just know for sure that my whole thing is, I'm not missing any games.''
Haden was injured last season and missed 11 games with various injuries. He suffered injuries to his ribs, ankle, finger and then a season-ending concussion He re-injured his left ankle in the off-season and had surgery in March on the ankle. Haden originally hurt the ankle against Arizona on Nov. 1.
Haden said it was tough to have to deal with a myriad of injuries, but is ready to move on.
“I’m dealing with it really well," Haden said. "I’ve got a really positive attitude. The new coaching staff, (Head) Coach Hue Jackson – him being here, having faith in me, trusting me and definitely just believing in me knowing the type of player I am, not really feeling like I have to come out and prove to him what I can really do.
"Just him having that confidence gives me a lot of confidence in myself and doesn’t make me feel like, ‘This is a whole new staff. You’ve got to prove yourself Round 1.’ We’ve played against Cincinnati before. He kind of knows what I can do."
Haden said he missed the camaraderie of his teammates and is anxious to get back on the field.
"I've never went through any type of adversity (like that) playing football," he said. "It definitely gives you a newfound passion for the game and just missing being out there with my guys.
"I'm jut really excited to get back out there."