The Browns had Joe Haden for one game. They are going to be without their best cornerback for the next 4.
The NFL issued a statement, which read: “Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns has been suspended without pay for 4 games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Haden’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return the Browns’ active roster on Monday, October 8 following the team’s October 7 game against the New York Giants.”
Haden, who reportedly tested positive in the offseason for the stimulant Adderall, played in Sunday’s season opener against Philadelphia. He had an interception and 6 tackles in Cleveland’s 17-16 loss. Haden hasn’t commented on his ordeal during training camp.
Haden latterly had his appeal heard on the suspension, which has been hanging over the Browns for weeks. The league does not announce suspensions till after the appeal process completes to give protection to the player’s privacy. The league didn’t provide any details about Haden’s violation.
Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis claimed the team won’t make a declaration about Haden’s suspension, which should cost the previous 1st-round draft pick $1.356 million in income. Coach Pat Shurmur was unaware of Haden’s suspension when he held his weekly news conference. NFL scores
Haden won’t be allowed at the team’s headquarters during his suspension. Last week, the Browns practiced without linebacker Scott Fujita, who had his 3-game suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal temporarily lifted by a 3-member appeals panel. Fujita didn’t dress for Sunday’s game.
Haden, who did not have an interception last season after getting 6 picks as a rookie, appeared to know his suspension was imminent following Sunday’s game, when he had one of the Browns’ 4 interceptions of Eagles QB Michael Vick.
“It felt good,” Haden said after. “There’s nothing like playing football. That’s what I’ve been training for my entire life. Being out there with my squad, you just feel comfortable. You feel comfortable and at peace. I was just pleased to be out there playing with them.”
Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, attended the game.
It was vital for the Browns to have Haden, their top coverage cornerback, in the opener against the dangerous Vick. He’ll be missed the next 4 weeks as well as Browns will play Cincinnati, Bills, Baltimore and the N.Y Giants.
Complicating matters is that the Browns can be without cornerback Sheldon Brown, who left Sunday’s game in the 1st quarter with a shoulder injury. Brown has started 161 consecutive games, and Browns Coach Pat Shurmur recounted Monday he thought the 33-year-old would be available this week.
With Haden out, Dimitri Patterson will start and 2nd-year defensive back Buster Skrine will either move to Patterson’s position at nickel back or start if Brown can’t play. The Browns also have rookie Trevin Wade, who was inactive on Sunday.
A 3rd-year pro, Haden had 6 tackles and an interception, which he returned 50 yards, in the Cleveland Browns’ Week One loss to the Eagles. He had 19 passes defensed last season and 18 together with 6 picks as a rookie in 2010.