Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden has refuted a report that the team had reached out to him about a potential return this offseason.
The Athletic reported on Monday that the Steelers had not been interested in Haden in the spring when his contract with the team expired and he became a free agent, but that the Steelers had reached out since and that Haden was not interested in a return.
Haden called the report untrue on Twitter, and suggested the team should contact his agent if they want to talk.
“Fake news!!” he wrote. “They got Drew Rosenhaus’ number.”
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) August 29, 2022
The 33-year old Haden spent the last five seasons as the Steelers’ top outside cornerback, but has not been able to find a home since hitting the free agent market in March.
The Steelers replaced Haden on their roster with former Buffalo Bills free agent cornerback Levi Wallace. Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon are expected to start at outside cornerback with Cam Sutton working in the slot.
Slot corners Arthur Maulet and Tre Norwood and backup Justin Layne and James Pierre are all back from the 2021 team, so it’s not even clear if the Steelers would have a role available for Haden at this point.
They may need some help at safety. The team has already lost Karl Joseph for the year to an injury, Miles Killebrew didn’t play in the preseason finale as he’s still slowly working back from a pec injury, and Damontae Kazee suffered a serious arm injury on Sunday that could see him miss several weeks.
Haden hasn’t regularly played safety. He has just 72 snaps at free safety in his career compared to over 8,700 at outside cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus. Norwood, Sutton and Maulet have all played more extensively at free safety and Haden could replace the depth lost at cornerback if one of those players is permanently moved to safety to fill in.