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Browns: Joe Haden transcript with Johnny Manziel comments

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

On Haden’s contract extension: 

Browns General Manager Ray Farmer: “We’re excited to have the man to my right sitting here. Joe has been a model citizen for us. He’s the right guy. It’s the right time. Everything that we talk about playing like a Brown, explained those attributes – being positive in the community, being positive with his teammates, working hard, demonstrating how he plays at a high level – definitely warranted are the things that have transpired in the last few hours. There is obviously a business element to it. We generally don’t like to talk about contracts in the media, with regards to our players, but the business is done. We’ll let him do all the talking behind what was accomplished through that. I definitely wanted to say we’re very proud and happy to have Joe Haden be a long-term Brown, and that’s what this contract extension was about.”

Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine: “Defense is obviously something that we’re going to pride ourselves on. It’s going to be a cornerstone of this franchise moving forward, and we feel that we’ve taken a huge step in securing that in getting Joe locked up long-term. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I know the defensive coaches were all fired up when they got the news. It was something from Day 1 after watching film and then got a chance to be around Joe  and just to kind of see his passion for the game and how important it was, how much he loves being here in Cleveland, loves being a Brown, that’s infectious. It was something that we put on the to-do list early on, and we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to get it crossed off.”

On the feeling he had when signing his contract extension:

Haden: “It’s crazy. This is an unbelievable experience. I had my wife there and my mom and dad with me. I played ball my whole life to get to that point when you finally get there. When you get your rookie contract, it’s because of what you did in college. When you get that second deal, it’s because of what you’ve been doing since you’ve been in the league. It’s just something that made me feel like the coaching staff believed in me, the owners believed in me. It made me just want to go even harder. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

On why he was so passionate about staying in Cleveland:

Haden: “I love Cleveland. I really like it here. I enjoy it here. The fans are great. I never just want to bail out on anything.  I started here. They drafted me, and actually, the fan base is one big part because the way they feel about the team and the Browns, I feel like if we could really start winning here, there’s no other place I’d rather play. If we could get this organization turned around, it would just be the best.”

On if he always ranked himself in the top tier of NFL cornerbacks:

Haden: “Definitely. I’ve been putting myself up there since Day 1, but when you don’t win as many games, you don’t really get the recognition. It’s all good. Like I was saying before, once you’ve got your coaches behind you, you have your teammates behind you and you have the organization behind you, that’s all that mattered at the end of the day. Once you get a contract, then everybody else seems to notice what’s going on, but I put myself there the whole time.”

On if the contract extension’s timing related to Seahawks DB Richard Sherman’s contract extension:

Haden: “Not really. We’ve been working on it for a while now, and it just happened to start getting closer towards OTAs and getting on the field. I really wanted to try and get it out of the way so I could be out there for all of that.”

On the Browns’ positive momentum this offseason:

Haden: “We definitely have a lot of positive momentum going on. With me getting locked up here, I’m super excited; (Browns C) Alex Mack [signing], super excited. We brought (Browns DB) Donte Whitner in; he’s going to be here for a while, (Browns LB Karlos) Dansby. It’s a lot of positive things going on, and everybody just wants to build on it. With (Browns QB) Johnny (Manziel) and the rookie class coming in, they’re going to have to prove themselves, all of them. It just brings in healthy competition. There’s nothing better than that. When you have a lot of good players at a position, that’s what you want on a team.” 

On Browns DB Justin Gilbert and what he can bring to the defense:

Haden: “He’s a really, really talented player. When I was out at the combine, I got to really watch him and go through the drills and do what he had to do. My little brother was a big fan of him. He had me watching his highlight tape. He was my favorite corner coming out. He turns the ball over. He’s able to get the ball back to the offense, very, very athletic. With his return skills, when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s automatically ready to get to the end zone. I’m really glad that we got him. He’s just got to learn, come out here and work hard, and he could definitely be a big part to help the team.” 

On if there is a different atmosphere around the Browns facility with Pettine:

Haden: “It’s a whole different feeling from the top down. Everybody, they’re bringing in a whole different feel, just as far as trying to swipe away everything that was going on in the past, and you know how the Browns are kind of looked at. They’re just trying to eliminate that and get us to have a new identity.”

On if the veterans welcome the attention that Manziel could bring to the team:

Haden: “We welcome all of that, just him as a player. I have faith in (Browns QB Brian) Hoyer, and the thing is if you have Johnny Manziel, he brings all that Manziel, that noise and all that. At the end of the day, once you get onto the field, you’re going to see if Johnny Manziel is playing better than Hoyer, then he’ll be out there, he’ll be the leader; but if he’s not, then Hoyer will be our guy or whoever the quarterbacks are. The thing is when you get to this level, it doesn’t really matter how much people hype you, how much people talk about you, it’s what you do on the field. I think that’s the thing with Hoyer and Manziel and whoever the quarterbacks we have. There’s going to be competition, and I like it. You get more attention here; you get more people watching the Browns. All we’ve got to do now is make noise and everybody’s going to look good.”

On if he still likes the added attention if there is more media coverage of the Browns:

Haden: “It doesn’t matter. That’s cool. That’s just what happens when you win. If we start winning, we’ll have that regardless.”

On if it’s good for Manziel to act like a backup quarterback at this point in the offseason:

Haden: “I couldn’t even imagine what Johnny Manziel is going through with all that attention, with all that hype on him. I know for a fact, though, just being a competitor, once you get to that level and you’re playing like a backup quarterback, I don’t think he’s going to try to do that. I think he’s going to come out here, and I think it just takes a little bit of pressure off him. At the end of the day, Manziel is going to be Manziel when he gets out on the field. I think that’s what’s going to show, and the same thing with Hoyer. He’s not giving up the spot. I’m honestly happy because you have Hoyer that wants to be a quarterback; You have Manziel with all the hype; but when you’re on the field everybody’s going to see what’s going on. It’s not like anybody’s given free spots. You have to earn it. You have to win it. Same thing with Justin Gilbert. He’s a really high draft pick. When I came in, a high draft pick, I didn’t start until Week 8, and that was all good because I wasn’t ready.”

On his reaction when the Browns drafted Manziel:

Haden: “I was hyped. I like Manziel. You know me. I’m a little bit on the flashy side, and I like that about him. I like that he has a personality, and it is what it is.”

On improving his career around after four-game suspension in 2012:

Haden: “It’s been a long ride, a little bit of bumps in the road, but now it’s all coming together. I’m super, super blessed. I got married and that helped me out a whole lot, just calmed down. I got into the Bible a lot more, and it’s been a whole lot more about football. I think that’s what really helped me out. The outside distractions, a lot of that stuff can get you mixed up because when you first come in and you’re making a lot of money and things are all going good, you can lose sight. I think I have my priorities in order, and that really helped me out.”

On if he gets the feeling that things are calming down at the Browns facility, especially with the current coaching staff:

Haden: “I hope so. I really like my coach, I really like Coach Pettine. I think they’re trying to change it up. They’re trying to change it all up. I’ve been here for a lot of coaches, and you can kind of tell and feel a difference with what they’re doing here, and I really like their defense. The players that we have here…we’re not far away at all from winning. We still have a whole lot of work to do. Don’t get me wrong, but we have the ability. We’ve just got to get the attitude.”

On what the team can do to help Browns WR Josh Gordon:

Haden: “We’ve got to just love up on Josh. We don’t really know what the situation is right now. I just saw him a couple times in passing, but he knows that the team loves him. I do; (Browns WR) Greg Little does. If he needs somebody to talk to, we’ll definitely be here to talk to him.”

On if Gordon receives a one-year suspension:

Haden: “It would be unfortunate. He’s amazing, but nobody really knows the situation or what’s going on right now.”

On if he feels like a leader at this point in his career, and his advice to Gilbert:

Haden: “The whole thing is you have to prove everything on the field. The way you get respect from people in the locker room is you perform on the field. The thing I would just tell him is all you have to do is just study, work hard and just try to become the best. If you need anything, if you’re not sure of things, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t think anything is going to be given to you. Just put your head down and grind. That’s the biggest thing. First-round picks to second-round picks, third-round picks, just act like you were an undrafted free agent. When you come in here and you just grind, that’s the way the team respects you. Then, they just take you in.”

On if he is the leader of the cornerbacks like former DB Sheldon Brown was during Haden’s rookie year:

Haden: “Yeah, it’s kind of crazy.”

On how much his play will improve by playing with another cornerback like Gilbert:

Haden: “I think it will improve a lot. My whole thing is I don’t feel like I’ve peaked at all. I think I can get so much better, and that’s the thing because when I’m talking about how they should be practicing, but they’re going to watch me and I’m going to be trying to get so much better. This contract only makes me feel like now I have to play like the best corner in the league. I feel like I’ve just got to grind. When I’m at practice with the DBs, they’re going to see how hard I work, and there should be no reason why anybody shouldn’t work as hard as I am.”

On if he will be visiting Deion Sanders this summer, and what the Pro Bowl did for him:

Haden: “It did a lot. I felt like that’s where I needed to be. It just felt like you’re just around a lot of dudes that love the game and really had their stuff together. When I was talking to Deion, I loved it because he’s watched my game. I could tell because some of the things he was telling me I need to work on are the same things I feel I need to work on. I’m actually going out there in June or July. I’ve got a day that I’m going out there to his camp. Me, Richard Sherman, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson, we’re going to go out there to Deion’s camp and work his camp. Then, he’s going to help us out a little bit.”

On signing his new contract with Broncos DB T.J. Ward in Denver:

Haden: “That’s where the business part comes into play. T.J. texted me yesterday, I was talking to him for a good 30 minutes, as usual – congratulating me, telling me how happy he was. He’s always going to be a good friend of mine. I know he’s out in Denver working hard. He just happy for me, and I’m happy for him. I would, of course, like to have my boy with me, but I know he’s out there trying to provide for his family and doing what he has to do.”

On if he has his eye on a new car:

Haden: “I’ve got my eye on some new shoes first. Let me get some shoes first. (laughter)”

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