The competitor in Joe Haden is looking forward to a much anticipated matchup against Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. It's the first time the pair have faced off, but there's a bit of familiarity between the two Pro Bowlers.
"I have never played him before. We actually met at the Pro Bowl and he came to a couple of the (Cleveland Cavaliers) playoff games," Haden said Friday afternoon, "so we know each other but we never got to play against each other."
On Sunday, the Browns will rely on Haden to help contain Beckham, who's considered one of the league's best receivers. Known for his acrobatic catches and explosiveness, he's got 59 passes for 819 yards and six touchdowns this season after totaling at least 1,300 yards in his first two seasons.
"He is very very quick. He judges the ball well," Haden said.
"Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is incredible with yards after the catch – making people miss, stiff arm. So, he's one of the best in the game."
Perhaps so is Haden, who's looking to finish 2016 strong after nagging groin injuries kept him sidelined at times throughout the first half of the year.
"I feel like I shouldn't really let people catch the ball at all, I really haven't been — I'm not trying to make excuses — but I'm not 100 percent out there so I've got to what I've got to do," Haden said. "I'm battling through, definitely for my standards, I don't feel like I'm playing up to the best of my ability, but I've giving it all I've got."
Haden, who still has to manage pain in his groin, said he wants to "lead by example" on a defense full of first-year players. "I want to do it for them, I want to do it for the city," he said. "You got to suck it up, you got to do what you go to and try and get this thing turned around."
Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton said he thinks Haden, who has three interceptions and helped keep Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in check last Sunday, still "probably expects a little bit more from" himself.
"He knows he can play at a very high level. He has done it – the accolades and the respect that people have for him. Obviously, when you go against the (Steelers WR) Antonio Browns, the (Giants WR) Odell Beckham Jr.'s, the (Bengals WR) A.J. Greens and all of the guys that he has been against, they are going to catch some of theirs just because of the way the league is," Horton said, "but we and he expects a lot more out of him, meaning he expects himself to be one of the top players in the league."
Of course, Haden will have another challenge against Beckham.
"This is what it's all about," he said, "going up against the best because you know where you're at. I get up for games like this."