BEREA,Ohio--Joe Haden said the NFL is a 'what have you done for me lately league' and he wants to get back on the field and prove that he's one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL after playing just five games in 2015 with four different injuries, including a season-ending concussion.
"I'm working hard and just can't wait to get back out there," Haden said. "It's really a 'what have you done for me lately league' and you kind of see last year I had a really bad season. I had high expectations and I definitely didn't live up to them.
"I just want to get back out there and prove that I'm still one of the best corners in the league."
Hue Jackson said he has no doubt that Haden will be ready for the season opener, if not sooner.
“No question, I know he’ll be ready," Jackson said. "He’s progressed really well, and I think we are doing the right thing. (Head Athletic Trainer) Joe Sheehan and our medical staff are as good as they are. They’ve done a tremendous job of getting him to this point. Obviously, I think you guys have seen him run in the conditioning test, and that tells you he’s very close.
"We are going to do the right thing and take our time because Joe is very valuable to our football team," he said. "He’s one of the keys to us having an opportunity to win. He’ll have an opportunity, hopefully, in the preseason to play, but I know for a fact, that he will be out there getting ready to play in the opening game.”
In 2015, Haden started the first three games before injuring his ribs and finger that cost him two games. Two weeks later, Haden suffered a concussion and missed two more games. In his first game back on Nov. 1, Haden suffered an ankle injury and a concussion and didn't play another down the rest of the season. He was placed on injured reserve for the final three games of the season.
Haden finished the season with just 22 tackles, two passes broken up and a fumble recovery. Hardly the type of season Haden was expecting after making the Pro Bowls the previous two seasons.
Haden suffered an ankle injury during the off-season in workouts and he is currently on active physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He cannot take part in on-field activities until he passes his physical. Haden is limited to strength and conditioning, rehab and meetings.
However, Haden ran ten 40-yard sprints with the rest of the team on Thursday in the conditioning tests and looked good in doing so.
"I thought it was going to be 40, 40's so I was going to do 10 of them," Haden said.
Haden still insists he will be ready for the regular season and said he would like to play a little in the preseason.
"Still don't have a timetable," Haden said. " I'm ready whenever they say I'm good to go. I'm getting better every day."null