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NFL Investigating Joe Haden's Deactivation by Browns in Week 4 vs. Chargers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2015

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) sets up at the line of scrimmage during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden dealt with rib and finger injuries leading up to his team’s Week 4 contest against the San Diego Chargers, but Cleveland listed him as “probable” on the injury report. Typically, when a player is listed as "probable," it means he will almost certainly take the field with his teammates.

Despite that designation, Haden did not play, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the NFL is now looking into the cornerback’s deactivation as a result.

According to Florio, a league spokesman told ProFootballTalk the following: “As is customary in these instances, we have checked in with the club on this to provide an explanation. We are looking into it.”

Florio also noted the Browns have 48 hours to give the league office an official explanation as to why Haden did not play after he was listed as “probable” instead of “questionable.”

Head coach Mike Pettine addressed the situation in his Monday press conference, per Zac Jackson of ProFootballTalk. “We left it up to Joe, and he made the decision that he didn’t want to go,” Pettine said.

Pettine also said Haden warmed up before the game and then decided he couldn’t take the field. 

The semantics of Pettine’s quote seemed to call into question Haden’s toughness or willingness to fight for a victory alongside his teammates. At least, that’s how CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler interpreted it:

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

Interesting choice of words by Pettine on Joe Haden. Could have simply said he wasn't able to go. https://t.co/4AI7GgDBzO

The fact that the NFL is looking into the decision is a concern for Cleveland, but so were the 358 passing yards the secondary allowed without Haden and nickelback K’Waun Williams (who missed the game with a concussion).

Had the two-time Pro Bowler suited up for the Browns on Sunday, he may have proved to be the difference in a 30-27 loss that was decided by a last-second field goal.

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