Former Redskin and Denver Broncos All-Pro Cornerback Champ Bailey, announced his retirement from the NFL Wednesday. Bailey was a staple in a Denver defense that was one of the more underrated in the league during his years playing there. Bailey played fifteen seasons in the NFL, and was a 12x Pro-Bowler who was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft, with the seventh overall pick. Bailey was a former University of Georgia standout who made a name for himself by being one of the most dominant triple threats (offense, defense, special teams) when he stepped on the field for the Bulldogs. In college, between his sophomore and junior season before declaring for the draft, Bailey recorded 59 career catches for 978 yards, including five touchdown receptions and over 1000 yards from scrimmage.

1By the end of Bailey’s collegiate career, he received a consensus All-America award, as well as a Bronko Nagurski award. The Nagurski award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in the NCAA for that year. After that, he began his NFL career in 1999 with the Washington Redskins and made an instant impact for them, intercepting five passes that season (including one for a touchdown) and also defending 17 passes. Bailey played five seasons in Washington, intercepting 18 career passes in a Redskin uniform along with 80 defended passes. At the end of the 2003 season, Baileys rookie contract expired and he threatened to boycott training camp which resulted in the Redskins allowing him to seek a trade, and he would wind up in Denver in a deal with a second round pick that would net the Skin’s Clinton Portis, one of their all-time greats. He was named an All-Pro seven times (including five with Denver) and finished second in NFL DPOY in his career. All of Bailey’s teammates and coaches remembered him for the way he played the game, with former Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer saying; “what separated Bailey most from others who excelled at the position was Bailey’s ability and willingness to not only be a shut-down player in pass coverage, but that Bailey was an elite tackler, not good, not great, but an elite tackler in the run game.”

Bailey tore his ACL last season, and when he recovered this year was cut due to mostly salary cap issues in Denver. In April of this year, Bailey signed a two-year, seven million dollar deal with the Saints, but failed to make it through the final roster cuts. So, in a long and historic career, Champ Bailey decided to call it quits. He has been one of the best cornerbacks in the business over the last 15 seasons, and is a future Hall Of Famer. Denver fans miss Bailey, and the league itself will miss a guy like him too. Bailey truly stood the test of time, and proved that he played hard and had what it took to be an All-Pro. He gave the league everything he had, and it was recognized.

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