- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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“I haven’t played anybody in our division yet, so I think they’re still my least favorite team,” Wallace said of Baltimore, which plays the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Then Wallace paused and thought about the Ravens a second time.
“Most definitely, I know they’re my least favorite team,” he admitted.
New rivalries surely will form over time for Wallace. He’s only four games into the five-year, $60 million contract he signed with Miami last spring. But Wallace has a deep-rooted history with the Ravens that goes back to his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry is arguably the NFL’s best over the past decade. It certainly has the most hatred between two teams. That’s still ingrained in Wallace, who spent his first four years with Pittsburgh.
Including playoffs, Wallace has played against Baltimore nine times and has a 4-5 record.
“I think it was two great teams battling,” Wallace said of the rivalry. “[The Steelers] knew the road to the Super Bowl either goes through them or New England, and vice versa. So it was always ‘We have to beat those guys.’”
The Dolphins have a chance to improve to 4-1 before the bye with a win over Baltimore (2-2). But it won’t be easy. Wallace knows firsthand the physicality the Ravens bring. The Dolphins will have to match that physicality at home.
Despite changing uniforms, Wallace said he would get the same satisfaction from beating Baltimore that he always has.
“First of all, they’re the defending champs. So it would definitely be big for us to win this football game,” he said. “If you think for one second, because they lost some players, that they’re not going to come out and try to whip our butts, you got it wrong.
“These guys are still the Baltimore Ravens. They still have the same mentality. So we definitely have to come out on our P's and Q's. If you don’t have your chinstrap buckled, they will hit you in the face.”
4dField Yates and Rich Cimini