Steelers' Joe Haden (leg) will return to practice this week

Annette Crawford
December 13, 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting ready to play the New England Patriots Sunday at Heinz Field and while it's still unclear if cornerback Joe Haden will play in that contest, head coach Mike Tomlin did say Tuesday during his weekly press conference that he will resume practicing this week.

If he can play, and play well, it would be a huge boost to the Steelers on Sunday. To the proponents, there was nothing else to discuss.

The 28-year-old is in his first year with the Steelers after being released by the Cleveland Browns in late August following seven seasons with the team. The Steelers then had starting cornerbacks capable of man-to-man coverage, and the work on implementing it began. Typical of an National Football League head coach, Tomlin's answer was evasive. "We better be better than we were Sunday night". "We'll see what it looks like".

Unfortunately for Haden, he's missed the last four games with a broken fibula and so he watched the team clinch the title from the sidelines.

Tomlin doesn't view being in a game like this as a burden.

But that didn't happen today.

"It was probably one of the most rewarding images I saw in the locker room Sunday night after the game: Joe Haden in his AFC North champion hat and T-shirt", Tomlin said. "His availability will determined by what he does and the quality of it". "Joe has worked extremely hard". The Steelers now rank fourth in the league against the pass, eighth in opposing passer rating (81.1), and seventh in interceptions (13).

A little bit of Haden could go a long way against Brady, who is 7-2 against the Steelers with 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. "It's better to be in big games than ones nobody's watching", Tomlin said, via ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

"He was excited about it and rightfully so". Hopefully we'll get him back into the land of the competing so he can be back in the fold with us, but only if it's ready.

The process of figuring that out begins Wednesday when the on-field preparation for the game against the Patriots begins.

"Shay's a special guy with a lot of talents, not only physically but mentally and from a leadership standpoint", Tomlin said.

"Tomlin doesn't know what Haden's availability will look like", Bouchette noted.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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