The NFL granted the Cleveland Browns a one-week exemption this week for cornerback Joe Haden, recently having served his four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Haden's suspension cost him $1.356 million in game checks and Pro Bowl eligibility this season. Due to the exemption, if the Browns feel that Haden isn't ready, he won't count against the 53-man roster while being allowed to practice, attend team meetings and use the team's training facilities.
Yet if he is and Cleveland plans on playing him, the Browns will be forced to clear a spot on their 53-man roster. That question will be answered at some point this week. During Monday's press conference, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur hinted that Haden could return this weekend.
"We have Joe Haden back. We’re going to put him in the lineup. We’re getting ready to play the Bengals. Moving forward, that’s where we’re at."
Haden has played four games against the Cincinnati Bengals, generating no interceptions and even allowed a 41-yard touchdown during the infamous "snap it before the Browns defense is ready" play during the regular season opener in 2011. Of the 28 targets against Bengals receivers he's covering in his career, 16 have been completed for 298 yards receiving and an opposing quarterback rating of 105.9.
For more on Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns, check out Dawgs by Nature.