Wallace, of course, faced the Browns twice a year while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He even went up against Haden before that when both were playing in the Southeastern Conference, Wallace with Mississippi and Haden with the University of Florida.
In fact, Wallace says his best memory against Haden happened in college when Wallace scored on a 77-yard touchdown.
“Honestly, for me, I take it back to the Florida and Ole Miss days when I took him, like, 70 yards," Wallace said. "But I’m not going to say anything because he caught an intercept on me as well — not that game, but since we’ve been in the NFL, he’s made some plays on me. It’s a battle. I know it’s going to be a long battle all day long. I’m excited about it. I’m going to sleep early, so I hope he goes to sleep early because it’s going to be a long day.”
Clearly, Wallace has a lot of respect for Haden, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft and now one of the top young cornerbacks in the game.
Wallace, who has been in the NFL since 2009, has played against the Browns five times since Haden came into the NFL and in those five games has 12 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
Wallace says the Browns matched up Haden against him the last two years.
“We go way back," Wallace said. "This goes back to Ole Miss and Florida. (Dolphins center Mike) Pouncey could tell you about that. He knows what happened. Joe is a great player. The thing that makes Joe a great player is that he’s confident. He’s real confident in his ability. He’s going to come out there, he’s going to look sweet, he’s going to wear all white, he’s going to wear orange shoes and he’s going to amp himself up. I think that’s half the battle — when you look good, you play good. He’s going to feel good about himself. But I think I’m going to come out even sweeter because I’m going to really wear all white. I’m going to have my swag up, too, so he better be ready on Sunday.”
Wallace has a 5-2 record against the Browns during his NFL career, including a couple of lopsided victories, but he still has a lot of respect for Cleveland.
“They have a great organization when it comes down to the fans," Wallace said. "They’re dedicated no matter if they go 3-13 or 10-6, no matter what the situation, if they’re down 30, if they’re up 30. Their fans are going to come out, they’re going to cheer their team on and they’re going to be relentless. They’re going to talk trash, they’re going to possibly throw stuff. Anything is possible in the Dawg Pound. They have great fans.
“It’s going to be fun. I’m used to playing there. It’s not going to be a new stadium or anything, it’s just different expectations. It’s going to be kind of funny going to play in Cleveland in a Dolphins uniform with new teammates. These are my guys now. It’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be different. I’m excited to go out and show everybody why I’m here, the impact that I expect to make week in and week out and just go hard. We’re ready to get a win in Week 1.”
For Wallace, another part of the excitement is starting the regular season, a regular season where he's carrying high expectations after signing his big free agent contract in March.
Wallace said during training camp he welcome the pressure of expectations, and that hasn't changed with the opener close at hand.
“This is the first time in my life where I’m a guy with a lot of expectations," Wallace said. "My whole time I’ve always been an underdog in pretty much every situation. I never really had too many expectations. This is different for me. I’m excited about it. I can’t wait.
"There are positive things said about me and negative things, but at the end of the day nothing really matters but how you play. I can sit up here and tell you I’m going to score 20 touchdowns, I can sit up here and tell you I’m going to score no touchdowns. None of that really matters. The only thing that matters is when we get going Sunday at 1:02 is what I do then. That’s the only thing that matters. Nothing I tell you right now is going to make a difference or nothing anybody else is going to make a difference. It’s all about Sunday at 1 o’clock.”