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Haden returns to Florida

Posted Nov 20, 2010

Rookie DB Joe Haden is making his first appearance in Jacksonville with the Browns on Sunday.

Rookie defensive back Joe Haden grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland, but came into his own as a defensive back at the University of Florida, less than 90 minutes away from where the Browns will play the Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

During his career, Haden played at Jacksonville’s stadium when the Gators faced off against the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

“I played there before and feel it’s going to be like when we played Tampa,” said Haden. “There’s a whole lot of Gator fans there.”

Haden may get extended playing time in two phases of the game, defense and special teams, just as he did a week ago.

Two-time Pro Bowl kick returner Joshua Cribbs and defensive back Mike Adams missed all of practice this week due to injuries and were downgraded to “out” for Sunday. Veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown also suffered an injury and left last week’s 26-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets early.

In relief of Cribbs and Brown, Haden returned two kicks for 51 yards, registered a career-high six solo tackles and collected his second interception this season.

“I think I did pretty good,” Haden said. “I think I got a whole lot more game-time experience. I practice to get ready for the game every week, but I didn’t really expect to get in that much. I feel like I played pretty good; my coaches felt like I played pretty good and I’m going into this week the same way I went into last week. I’m just preparing to try to be ready for the game.

“Whatever the coaches want to do, I just want to let them know that I’m there,” said Haden. “I’m just trying to make sure that when I do catch (the ball), I’m just trying to get as far up the field as possible, so they know that if Cribbs ever does need a back-up, I’m here for it. I miss having the football sometimes, so when you do get it, you try to go as far as you can with it.”

Browns head coach Eric Mangini saw a lot from Haden in the Jets game and is looking for him to keep improving as the season continues.

“He was playing a lot of different spots so taking some of that into account as well, I thought he did a really nice job considering the volume that he had and some of the different spots that he had to play,” Mangini said. “He was playing against pretty good players.

“He’s like all the young guys, they’re always itching to get that spot and all the other guys are itching to keep them out of that spot,” he added. “He’s made strides as we’ve gone along through the season and that’s what you’d expect after you get to week eight in the middle of the season. You want to see a real jump and the rookie component of it stops being the focus.”