Steelers’ Joe Haden ‘feels really good’ about playing Monday |
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Chris Adamski
In this Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Joe Haden (23) reach for the ball during an NFL football game in Cleveland. In a slopfest of an opener, the Steelers and Browns drew 21-21. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini, File)

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ beleaguered secondary seems poised to receive a significant boost.

Veteran Joe Haden, a former Pro Bowler, declared Friday he’s “feeling good to go” for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After suffering a hamstring injury during the Week 1 tie at Cleveland, Haden did not play in the 42-37 loss to Kansas City this past week in which the secondary was torched by the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.

The Steelers termed him a full practice participant for Thursday and Friday. Haden conceded he held some things back Thursday while testing his hamstring but had “no limitations” Friday.

“It went really good,” the nine-year veteran said. “Feeling good to go; should be ready to go (Monday).”

Hamstrings can be concerning for a player, especially one who makes as many quick-twitch movements as a defensive back. Haden said that was part of the rationale in sitting out last week’s game, avoiding an aggravation that could cost him multiple games.

“I think we went about it the right way,” Haden said. “So I was able to go (Friday) and not really feel it, so I think we are in a good place.”

Haden was injured while covering a punt during the fourth quarter against Browns. Some have criticized coach Mike Tomlin for having such an important player and older veteran handling such duties.

Haden, though, doesn’t share that opinion.

“I like to do it,” he said of special teams, “and I think the more you can do, the more I can do to help the team out. (Covering punts) is something I have been doing my while career, too. It’s not like it’s a new thing. It was just unfortunate that it happened on the special teams.”

Cameron Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh played in Haden’s place.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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