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Daily Pilot

Virgen's View

Virgen: The night's true stars

By Steve Virgen

5:19 PM PDT, April 5, 2014

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At the "Draft Day" special movie screening at Big Newport Thursday night, the film's stars Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner did not show.

But that was OK, there were plenty of other stars, and some who did not have a role in the movie. You could call them heroes, for sure. They would be Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden and his younger brother, Jacob Haden.

Joe Haden, a Pro Bowler in 2013, attended the event to support the Special Olympics. Jacob, 20, grew up with as a special-needs child and does not have the ability to communicate verbally. He competes in Special Olympics, the primary charity for Thursday night's event, as the Foundation for the Undefeated put together the "Draft Day," screening. Foundation for the Undefeated, the nonprofit based in Newport Beach, is the new home of Irrevelant Week.

Joe Haden smiles when he talks about his brother. He says Jacob competes in basketball, track and bocci.

Joe Haden is the oldest of five Haden boys, four of which played NCAA Division I football.

"At every game he was our biggest cheerleader," Joe Haden said of Jacob. "He's always happy, always having a good time. We go and support him at his Special Olympic games. He's wearing his gold medals. All my [friends] love him."

Joe Haden is entering his fifth season with the Browns, who have a record of 18-46 in Haden's four seasons. There have been a lot of rough days for Joe Haden, but he has always had a different perspective because of his experiences from growing up with Jacob.

"It makes me look in the mirror," Joe Haden said. "If I'm having a bad day, my little brother Jacob is waking up smiling, just running around having a ball. I'm like, seriously, what am I really worried about right now?"

Joe Haden said he attended the event because he wanted to help in any way he could.

On the football field, Joe Haden is also a star. Fantasy football geeks like me know better not to start their primary receiver when they are matched up against him.

I asked him who he thinks is the best defensive back in the league. It's easy to see, he has plenty of confidence.

"I'd say myself," Joe Haden said. "I like me."

He also said he has respect for the Patriots' Darrelle Revis, the Cardinals' Patrick Peterson, the Dolphins' Brent Grimes, and "of course," Richard Sherman of the Seahawks.

"You never really see how many peoople talk trash in the league," Joe Haden said. "[Sherman is] doing it, but he's backing it up. I got mad respect for the dude. That's not my game. That's not how I do it. The weight of the world is already on your shoulders being a corner. And, to put more pressure on yourself? But he's backing it up. More power to him."

Joe Haden said the best receiver in the game is Calvin Johnson of the Lions, and also listed his teammate Josh Gordon, as well as A.J. Green of the Bengals and the Steelers' Antonio Brown, as top-flight pass catchers.

•I watched "Draft Day" with great expectations, as I am a big football fan and I enjoy Ivan Reitman films. He's the director. He also produced one of my favorite films, "Private Parts," the movie about Howard Stern.

Draft Day did not disappoint. It was very entertaining. NFL fans will definitely enjoy it.

I had only two gripes: I wanted more scenes with Garner in them. Also, some parts of the movie were a bit unrealistic.

•I do not want to give away too much of the movie, which will hit theaters Friday, but I saw Patrick St. Esprit's character of Tim Michaels as a guy who really loves pancakes.

"I had to really eat those things," said St. Esprit, who watched the movie for the first time and attended the after-party at the Newport Beach Civic Center. "Right before the shot, Ivan would say, 'More syrup!' I was actually getting sick with all the syrup. I told the prop guy to stop putting it on and leave the syrup next to me and I'll put it on when he knows he really wants it. That was fun."