Phoenix — It's no secret Lions cornerback Darius Slay is a fan of Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
Slay is less than two years younger than Haden, but has followed Haden closely since he played at Florida. As a rookie in 2013, Slay, who also played in the SEC at Mississippi State, said he "swag-jacked" Haden, rocking a white sleeve on one arm, and when the Lions and Browns played each other in Slay's rookie season, the two cornerbacks swapped jerseys.
As it turns out, Haden is a fan of Slay, too.
"I definitely do," Haden said Wednesday when asked if he watches Slay play. "I thought that was really, really cool that he was a fan of mine, and now we're going to be really good friends because he's a baller too. I like that."
Haden was at the Phoenix Convention Center Wednesday, making the rounds at Radio Row.
In many ways, Haden and Slay are similar players. Like Haden, Slay went through growing pains as a rookie, but played much better and was a full-time starter in his second year, helping solidify the Lions secondary in 2014. They're both fast and have a similar build, though Slay is two inches taller at 6-foot-1.
Haden, a first-round pick in 2010, was a second-team All-Pro in 2013, so Slay still has work to do to reach his level. But Haden thinks Slay is an ascending player.
"Yeah, he's going to be solid," Haden said.