Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey (24) against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nine and a half months after his final game with the Denver Broncos, and one final attempt to catch on with another team, future hall-of-fame cornerback, Champ Bailey is set to sign a one day contract with and retire as a member of the Broncos as reported by CBS Sports. Bailey was a first round pick of the Washington Redskins in 1999 out of the University of Georgia, where he played the first five years of his career. After the 2003 season, Head Coach and GM, Joe Gibbs traded Champ and a second round pick to the Broncos for running back, Clinton Portis. Bailey played the remaining ten years in the predominantly orange of the Broncos (and no, I’m not counting the cup o’ coffee in Nawlins).
Champ was selected to an NFL record, 12 Pro Bowls by a cornerback (4 with the Redskins and 8 with the Broncos), was a 7 time All-Pro (2 Redskins, 5 Broncos), and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2000’s. He finished his career with 925 tackles, 3 quarterback sacks, 53 interceptions, 9 forced fumbles, and 4 touchdowns (and a parr-tridge in a pear tree).
The seminal moment of his career came on January 14th, 2006 in a divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots. With the ball on the 5-yd line of the Broncos, Tom Brady rolled right under pressure, threw for what he thought was an open Troy Brown. Open he wasn’t. Champ stepped in front of the pass a yard deep in the endzone and took it 99 yards for the longest, non-scoring play in NFL postseason history. That play and subsequent score effectively shut the door on the Patriots’ 10-game postseason win streak and handed the Patriots the first postseason loss of the Brady/Belichik era.
While Bailey made 4 Pro Bowls in his 5 seasons with the Redskins, just days before his only Super Bowl appearance, this past February 2nd, he referred to his trade to Denver as the best day of his career, as tweeted by Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 in Washington D.C.
There is no argument that I will entertain, that despite five very good statistical seasons with the Redskins, Champ Bailey is forever associated and forever a member of the Denver Broncos. So you can add one more Bronco to the long line of guys who should have their busts enshrined in Canton’s hallowed halls of eternal football glory. Thanks for the memories, Champ!