Dick's Sporting Goods has released its jersey sales since the end of the NFL Draft in early May, and Browns fans across the country have spoken: Joe Haden checks in at No.1 on the list.
In collaboration with Nike, Cleveland released new uniforms on April 14 and the new ensembles have been flying off the racks. Browns Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner's number 31 jersey additionally ranks No.10 on the list.
On the surface of things, ranking first in jersey sales is a popularity contest. But it's Haden's reputation that makes him so beloved. Coaches reiterate his work ethic in practice is unmatched and it's help make him a top-notch cornerback in the league. His long-reaching leadership arm has been felt across the entire organization – especially in his new role of mentoring younger players. Pro Bowl appearances are expected to keep piling up.
There's the whole Cleveland thing, too. Haden has been one of the Cavs' most vocal fans since arriving in town in 2010. He's created a staple summer celebrity softball event on the outskirts of the city that draws thousands and top NFL talent. He plays pick-up basketball at local rec centers in Berea, he shops for groceries downtown at Constantinos, he even opened his own shoe store on Prospect Ave called The Restock.
Haden is Cleveland. He's earned this recognition.
"And it's not phony – not with Joe," said Pro Bowl teammate Joe Thomas of Haden's genuine love for the city and fans.
The rest of the top 10 of the Dick's Sporting Goods NFL jersey sale list so far this season:
1) Joe Haden – Browns
2) Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants
3) DeMarco Murray – Cowboys
4) Peyton Manning – Broncos
5) Andrew Lucks – Colts
6) Jameis Winston – Bucs
7) Marcus Mariota – Titans
8) Tom Brady – Patriots
9) LeSean McCoy – Bills
10) Donte Whitner – Browns