Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, the seventh overall pick, finally met his idol LeBron James not long after the Cavs were eliminated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
''My people brought me to him right after the season,'' Haden said Saturday as the Browns' mandatory minicamp concluded. ''It was real cool. I was trying not to act too starstruck. Just chilling. He was telling me congratulations and stuff like that.''
A University of Florida product who grew up in Maryland, Haden had been angling for an encounter with his favorite NBA player, the two-time league MVP, since he was selected on April 22.
Asked if James lived up to his expectations, Haden said, ''He definitely did. He was was real cool.''
With the Browns leaving town until training camp begins in late July, Haden said he departs with a full playbook to digest.
''Now everything's in and I can just study the plays and I can try to anticipate stuff instead of worrying. Now I can start reacting,'' Haden said.
The junior conceded he'd been somewhat hesitant during Organized Training Activities and minicamp.
''Sometimes I was for sure because I didn't know if what I was doing was right,'' Haden said. ''You don't want to mess up. Now all the plays are in so you can just go as fast as you can.''
Browns coach Eric Mangini agreed that Haden has had his ups and downs thus far.
''I've really liked the way he's approached things,'' Mangini said. ''The volume of information has been new. I'm not saying he didn't have a large volume in college, I'm saying it's different.
''He's done a good job and he's been put in a lot of spots where he had to adjust and there's been hiccups along the way. Safeties and corners have a lot to do. Some days it was really good and other days it was not quite as good.''
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