A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Joe Haden, a cornerback who plays for the Cleveland Browns. Haden was in Newport Beach, California, to attend a charity event hosted by the Foundation for the Undefeated to raise money for the Special Olympics. The Undefeated Foundation funds organizations that work to help the “underdog” and was established by NFL alumnus Paul Salata in 1976 to celebrate the last player to be selected in the NFL Draft, also known as Mr. Irrelevant.
Haden attended the event to lend his support to the Foundation and the Special Olympics. Both causes are close to his heart. He grew up with a brother with special needs and Joe and his family always included his brother in their love of sports.
Joe clearly understands that no one is irrelevant, but he also knows what it means to persevere. He was drafted by the Browns with the seventh overall pick in 2010. Since then, the team has had four head coaches and has been in an endless rebuilding process.
But things are looking good this year for the Browns. They have a new coach, Mike Pettine, and young talents such as Josh Gordon, Phil Taylor, and, of course, Joe Haden. And in the 2014 NFL Draft, Cleveland picked up two players in the first round: The Browns picked up cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick, and quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick.
Could this be the year the Browns turn things around? Haden hopes so. But he knows that the only way to accomplish anything is by working hard and persevering. That was one of the many lessons he shared with me during our interview, which you can watch here!
Photo: Tom Uhlman/AP Photo