Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has yet to wear a Cleveland Browns uniform, but Pittsburgh Steelers’ Joe Haden already can’t wait to face off against OBJ.
Once the 2019 regular season starts, the Cleveland Browns are going to have a big target on their backs. After several key additions, including Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns are being viewed as one of the best teams in the NFL.
Beckham’s presence will play a huge role in the Browns offense potentially becoming the best offensive unit in the NFL. With Baker Mayfield under center and Jarvis Landry beside Beckham, the offense has the potential of being an explosive group.
But even before Beckham can put on a Browns uniform for the first time, he is already drawing the attention from players who will be facing off against him this season.
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On Tuesday, former Cleveland Brown and current Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden told TMZ he “can’t wait to cover” Beckham when the Browns and Steelers face off during the regular season. He also said he has to “go against the best to be the best.”
Haden is entering his third season with the Steelers and is coming off his best season wearing the black and yellow. The 29-year-old played 15 regular season games and made 63 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.
Haden was one of the most significant cuts during the Sashi Brown era. The cornerback was seen as one of the faces of the Browns organization during his seven years in Cleveland. But in Haden’s final years with Cleveland, he struggled to stay healthy and he was not performing like earlier in his career. With the amount of money he was making, Sashi Brown felt it was the right decision to move on.
Despite Cleveland’s quick turnaround and being on the Browns’ rival, Haden told TMZ that he was happy for the city and what Beckham will be able to bring to the city.
"“I’m happy for Cleveland. That’s a great football city,” Haden tells us. “They deserve everything. Odell, that’s one of my good friends … he’s gonna bring a lot of flash and flare there.”"
With Beckham now on the Browns, the Cleveland offense can expect defenses to try to do whatever they can to shut down their offense. There are likely several defenders on the Browns’ schedule who share the same feeling as Haden about covering Beckham.
No longer are the Browns seen as the cakewalk game when they pop up on a team’s schedule. Instead, teams are going to get fired up about playing Cleveland and will want to shut down the hype surrounding the Browns.