Ex-Steelers Pro Bowler Joe Haden Reveals Reason for Retirement Decision

Joe Haden

Nick Cammett/Getty Images Joe Haden of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of a game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021.

At one point in the summer of 2022, it looked as if veteran cornerback Joe Haden might sign a third contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers and continue his long and distinguished career for at least one more season. But it didn’t happen, and on Sept. 21, 2022, Haden announced he would be retiring from the NFL.

On the most recent edition of the I Am Athlete podcast (season 4, episode 6), Haden related to Brandon Marshall, LeSean McCoy, Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and Desean Jackson why he chose not to come back for a 13th NFL season.

“I didn’t plan on retiring this year,” said the former Top 10 pick. “I wanted to do at least one more season, but the money wasn’t right. It wasn’t worth it. They were offering me one-and-a-half million to two million. I could have probably went to eight teams if I had signed for one-and-a-half to two,” he said, before indicating that it didn’t make sense to move his family for that kind of money.

“They (were) not giving me what I feel like I’m worth. I felt it was a $5 million market. If I couldn’t get five a year, I’m not playing ball no more,” concluded Haden, who says he’s at peace with the decision and got through his career with his health largely intact.

“I had probably three concussions when I played and two surgeries — an ankle surgery and double sports hernia,” said Haden, 33, who came into the league in the spring of 2010 when the Cleveland Browns selected him No. 7 overall out of the University of Florida.

“Right now I’m feeling good,” added Haden, indicating that he’s interested in pursuing a career in NFL media going forward.

“I’m meeting with FOX, I’m meeting with Amazon. I don’t want to do in-the-booth thing, I want to do in-studio … working on that right now,” offered Haden, who finished his career with 158 games played and 29 interceptions, earning Pro Bowl honors three times.

Joe Haden Names His Top 5 Wide Receivers, Cornerbacks

Naturally, I Am Athlete’s four co-hosts didn’t limit their questions to retirement. They also asked Haden to name the Top 5 receivers he ever faced. He quickly identified former Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown as being in his “top 2,” with Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Larry Fitzgerald and Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson also making the list.

As for his five favorite cornerbacks, Haden rattled off the names of Hall of Famers Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson, with soon-to-be-enshrined Darrelle Revis also making the list.

Joe Haden’s Favorite NFL Teammates

Last but not least, Haden also identified his favorite teammates from his 12-year career: namely former Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (who reportedly will be released by the Tennessee Titans); as well as Steelers All-Pro defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

“Cam is a solid dude — a family man…. He wants to right. He loves the game a lot…. He’s a big, happy dude, loves to take care of people, always trying to do the best,” concluded Haden, smiling at the thought of his former teammate, whom he played with from 2017-21.