Joe Haden retired from the NFL earlier this month –– and it doesn’t sound like he’s coming back.
Haden, the former Browns and Steelers cornerback, joined Pat McAfee and AJ Hawk for a recent episode of The Pat McAfee Show, and the trio wasted no time getting to business.
Haden made the Pro Bowl as recently as 2019, but at 33 years old, his clock was ticking. It’s a young man’s game, and perhaps no position feasts on the elderly quite like cornerback does.
Haden isn’t oblivious to it.
Sitting on his cozy couch in the comfort of his California home, Haden watches the games and understands he made the right choice.
“[The] football, I’m seeing these dudes, they’re getting messed up,” Haden said, “It’s brutal. These dudes are not playing out there, and I don’t wanna guard [Bengals star receiver] Ja’Marr Chase by myself right now. That’s not intriguing to me.”
What is intriguing to Haden, however, is the camaraderie of an NFL locker room. During his time with the Steelers, Haden was viewed as a leader and a constant positive influence. Whether with the media or with his teammates, Haden was simply fun to be around.
That’s one aspect he wishes he could get back.
“I miss the dudes, miss the locker room,” Haden said. “I just miss hanging out with the guys every day… You’re going to see your boys every single day. You’re going to have that time in the locker room where you’re just chilling, playing cards, vibing up. I think that’s kind of the biggest part.”
On the football side, Haden still might have something to give.
But if it isn’t the elite, All-Pro Joe Haden we’ve all come to expect, he wants no part of it. Not even if it’s November and an NFL contender comes knocking for some veteran depth and leadership as they make their Super Bowl push.
“I’m staying in shape, but I honestly feel like I’m cool,” Haden said. “I wouldn’t want to cheat the game. I wouldn’t want to go out there and not look like myself, look like Joe Haden.
“Every single day, the grind –– watching what I eat, watching what I do since I was seven years old … I’ve never had to not worry about football the next day. And I think that’s what made me be able to play at such a high level because I never wanted to cheat the game and I always wanted to be the best player out there playing.”
In the end, Haden knows he made the right choice by stepping away. As a father, there’s more to life than football, and Haden embraces that as he rides into the sunset.
“It kind of got to a place where I was getting offered around 2 million bucks to play, and it just didn’t really make sense for me to move, and I just kind of was like, ‘You know what? I’m at peace,'” Haden said. “I feel good, [I] love my kids. I got a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old boy, started bringing them to Kindergarten, and it’s just, you know, [I] got kinda into ‘dad mode.’
“I feel like I’ve kind of now just… I’m chilling a little bit. So I don’t feel like I’m in that mindset, in that grind to want to come back.”
Listen to Haden on the Pat McAfee Show here:
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 26, 2022