BEREA, Ohio— Joe Haden is back.
The cornerback was activated from the physically unable to perform list and was cleared to practice on Monday for the first time since offseason ankle surgery.
He’s going to take things slow to start— participating in only individual drills for the first few practices— as his only goal is to be ready for the regular-season opener against Philadelphia.
“If (the trainers) let me play in the preseason that would be sweet,” Haden said. “My main goal is to get back by Sept. 11.”
Though Haden is eager to get back on the field in a full capacity, he’s enjoyed working with the trainers as he attempts to make a big comeback this season.
“I think they’re doing a really good job of just taking their time,” Haden said. I think a lot of it is precautionary, just making sure there is no rush to get back right now, just trying to get back as soon as possible whenever I’m ready full percent to be ready to go they’ll put me back in there.”
Watching from the sidelines, Haden has both liked what he’s seen and wondered what would be different when he’s out on the field.
To start, the offense has impressed him, as Robert Griffin III and Corey Coleman have connected on multiple big-time plays, but he wants to know if that would be the case if he lined up against the rookie.
“The offense, to be able to throw the ball like that, they look like a really, really good offense,” Haden said. “It’s exciting for me and it’s exciting to want to give them a little more competition. They’ve been throwing that thing over our heads a couple times. I definitely want to rush in there to see how they’ll do against me.”
Haden is also looking forward to getting back on the field to play for defensive coordinator Ray Horton, for whom he’s played before.
The cornerback is comfortable with everything that’s going on in the meeting room and wants to start to show the young group of defensive backs the ropes.
“Being able to sit in all the meetings, just re-going over it, it clicked back soon as he started telling it,” Haden said. “No different calls or anything like that. I know all the calls, know all the checks, so now I’m just waiting to get down the plays.”
As for the defense as a whole, Haden feels that he can help.
It hasn’t been a bad start to training camp for the defense thus far in his eyes, but he feels as though the group is a long way from what it should be when the regular season begins.
“There’s some work to be done,” Haden said. “When I come back just being able to have a full secondary and starting to make those calls and those checks – I don’t think we’re too far behind, but we have some catching up to do with the offense.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grovenull