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Loss especially tough for Haden

Posted Dec 2, 2013

Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden took Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars personally.

Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden was so upset with himself for allowing Jacksonville wide receiver Cecil Shorts III to catch a 20-yard game-winning touchdown in the Jaguars’ 32-28 win at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday that he was in tears after the game.

Haden, who intercepted a pass and registered three solo tackles in Sunday’s setback, said losses like that often hurt the most.

“We can’t stand losing,” Haden said. “It hurts to go out there and put my (freaking) heart on the line every time, and every time, we end up coming up short. It was my fault right there on the touchdown. He ran a good route on a good play.

“We’re out there every time, grinding, fighting, and this (stuff) hurts. Every time we start losing, we’re tired of it. There’s nothing we can say. You’re going to come with the same questions every week and it’ll be the same answers: ‘We’re going to get better next week. We’re going to get better next week.’ Until we do it, then, there’s nothing else to talk about, straight up.”

And to his teammates, that passion and those tears represent how much Haden cares about the team and turning close losses into victories.

“Joe’s a competitor,” Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya said. “He wants to be the best at what he does, and that’s what he believes in. That’s his craft and he wants to be perfect.

“That’s how he approaches the game. That’s how he practices. That’s how he prepares himself, and when it doesn’t go how he wants it to go, those are tears of emotion. Those are tears of wanting to be great and wanting us to win, and when it doesn’t swing our way, sometimes, it’s like that.”

Safety T.J. Ward has been Haden’s teammate in the Browns’ secondary since the two joined the team through the first and second rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. Since that time, Ward has seen Haden grow into a player who expects to help his team win.

“Joe’s very competitive,” Ward said. “He wants to make every play, and if he gives up a play, like anybody, especially somebody that wants to win and is as competitive as he is, he’s going to be upset. I’m upset for the entire defense. We should’ve stopped that drive. It didn’t start with Joe. Joe didn’t give up that drive. We did as a defense.”

Watching Haden struggle to get the words out to describe his feelings was hard to take for second-year defensive back Tashaun Gipson, but the Browns’ starting free safety believes Haden will bounce back.

“That’s like my brother,” Gipson said. “After he played a game like he did, and what he meant for this defense, it’s kind of a terrible feeling for him to be so down on himself. He holds himself to a higher standard, feeling like he is one of the elite cornerbacks in the game.

“It’s definitely going to be tough for him. I’m right behind him and I know the feeling. He’s going to make that play 10 times out of 10 if it happened again.”