Familiar Foe

WR Mike Wallace

The Dolphins' visit to the Louisiana Superdome to face the Saints Monday night will represent more than a homecoming for New Orleans native Mike Wallace. It's also going to represent a chance to be reunited with the person he calls his best friend.

That person would be Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was a teammate of Wallace's in high school and with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past four years.

"It's going to be a little different," Wallace said Wednesday in a conference call with New Orleans-based reporters. "This is the first time I'm going to play against Keenan since we were younger, about 7 or 8 years old. I've known him since we were so small, about 5 or 6 years old. I haven't played against Keenan since we were young like that. I've always been on his team, so this is a little different. I'm excited. I'm up for the challenge (and) I know he's up for the challenge, so it's going to be a good time."

Wallace and Lewis played at different colleges — Wallace at Ole Miss and Lewis at Oregon State — but never had the opportunity to face each other before Monday night.

They did go head-to-head quite a bit during their four years together with the Steelers, though.

"I killed him," Wallace said, laughing. "Nah, sometimes he got me and sometimes I got him. Keenan is a great player. He's a smart guy; he's going to play really well. That's my brother. I have all the confidence in the world in him, but I'm against him this week, so you know I'm out to kill him."

Lewis joined the Saints in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent after a breakout season in 2012.

After three years as a backup, Lewis started all 16 games for the Steelers last season and turned in a very solid performance, even though he didn't record an interception.

Lewis has started all three games for New Orleans in 2013 and came up with a pick in the Saints' 31-7 victory against Arizona on Sunday.

Whether he's matched up against Wallace Monday night the way Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden was remains to be seen, but the two friends could see each other quite a bit since Wallace usually lines up on the right side of the offensive formation and Lewis has been lining up at left cornerback.

Wallace says Lewis is the biggest trash talker he knows, so he expects a lot of yapping on Monday.

"Definitely; you can believe that," Wallace said. "Keenan already called me last night asking me if we had a problem. I'm like, ‘Nah, we are good.' That's just Keenan; he's going to talk crazy. He's already calling me early in the week. I started not to answer the phone for him, but that's my brother, so I couldn't do it to him."

Just how tight are Wallace and Lewis?

"He's my best friend," Wallace said. "Just having him with me all the time, we are going through the same things. We are in camp together, we get to go through the same things. Our families are real close, just to be with each other. Just the friendship; that's my brother. Everything about being around him: the love, the family, everything. The jokes. That's one thing about us is we are going to joke all day long (and) clown.

"I need to get me somebody like that around here, because I don't have it right now. That's my brother, so it's going to take a while to get on the level with another guy like that. Even in college I had a guy who we played in high school with who I went to college with. This is my first time being on a team by myself."

As tight as he is to Lewis, Wallace was asked whether he tried to talk the cornerback into signing with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason along with him.

"We wanted to play together again, but we both knew we had to go our separate ways in order to do what was best for ourselves and our families," Wallace said. "Maybe one day, but not right now."

Wallace played once at the Superdome during his time with the Steelers, that coming during the 2010 season.

It wasn't a great night for Wallace, who caught three passes for 43 yards in a 20-10 Steelers loss.

Wallace says any trip to the Superdome will be special, but the presence of Lewis on the Saints roster clearly adds something to this particular visit.

Make no mistake, the two have been talking about this matchup for a while.

"There's going to be a lot of talking this week, especially since we are playing each other," Wallace said. "Every single day, almost, we talk to each other. We've been talking about this day since the day we signed, since March 12. We've both been talking about it. I told him to get ready and he told me the same thing, so we're excited about it. We are going to continue to talk every day. At the end of the day, it's all love. Like I keep telling y'all, that's my brother. I wish the best for him, just not on Monday night."

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