CLEVELAND -- As Joe Haden walked through the halls of CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on Saturday, he took in the surroundings with a sense of gratitude. Cleveland was always home to the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who played his first seven seasons with the Browns before signing a division rival deal just prior to the start of 2017. The move set him on a path that saw him play another five years in Pittsburgh while maintaining a close relationship with a city he never wanted to leave.
Then, last summer, Haden realized that he didn’t want to spend another season pushing his body to the limit to chase a Lombardi Trophy. He knew he had given his all, and while the offers from teams were there, the value of time with his family was too strong.
The 33-year-old was back in town for one final game on Monday night, when the Steelers faced the Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. He'll be recognized at halftime for signing a one-day contract to retire with the team that drafted him seventh overall in 2010. In a city where he was embraced almost instantly as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Haden will get a chance to enjoy the adoration of a team that hasn’t stopped thinking about him. But he’s also ready to move on with his life. "It's time to put the past behind me and look forward to my future," he said. "That's the best way to live your life."