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“You have to believe you can do it. I think it’s just discipline, the little details of football…communication…If you're not on top of your stuff, they'll expose you.”
(Georgia)...6'1'', 192...1st round pick (7th overall) by Washington Redskins in 1999 NFL Draft...quickly established himself as one of the league's best defensive backs...became youngest player in NFL history to record three interceptions in a game...prior to 2004 season was traded to Denver Broncos...12 Pro Bowl selections...All-Pro five times, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s ... Born June 22, 1978 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky
The Washington Redskins selected Champ Bailey, a consensus All-American out of Georgia, seventh overall in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Bailey quickly established himself as one of the league’s best defensive backs and over the next 15 years he excelled at the highest level on the field.
Bailey started in all 16 games he played during his rookie season and earned the reputation as a dominant lockdown cornerback. He became the youngest player in NFL history to record three interceptions in a game when he accomplished the feat against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 17, 1999. He finished his rookie campaign with five interceptions, one of which he returned as a touchdown. He also recorded 19 passes defensed and one sack.
Just prior to the 2004 season, Bailey was traded to the Denver Broncos where he spent the remainder of his career. An impact player, Bailey set the record for the longest non-scoring play in NFL history during a divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots on Jan. 14, 2006. He intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it for 100 yards before being tackled at the Patriots’ one-yard line.
In all, Bailey played in 215 career games with the Redskins (1999-2003) and the Broncos (2004-2013) starting in all but three games. He amassed a total of 908 tackles (812 solo), intercepted 52 passes which he returned for 464 yards and four touchdowns, recorded three sacks, made six fumble recoveries and had 203 passes defensed. Bailey led the NFL in interceptions in 2006 (10 for 162 yards and one TD).
Bailey’s 12 Pro Bowl selections are the most elections by a defensive back in NFL history. He was named All-Pro five times, tabbed for the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, and chosen to the Broncos 50th Anniversary Team.
2005 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Denver Broncos 17
Bailey started at left cornerback. He had 1 tackle, 2 assists and 1 pass defensed.
2013 AFC – Denver Broncos 26, New England Patriots 16
Bailey started at left cornerback. He had 3 tackles.
Super Bowl XLVIII – Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8
Bailey started at left cornerback. He had 4 tackles.
All-Pro: 2003 (SN) · 2004 (AP, PFWA, SN) · 2005 (AP, PFWA, SN) · 2006 (AP, PFWA, SN)
All-Pro Second Team: 2000 (AP) · 2003 (AP) · 2007 (AP) · 2012 (AP)
All-NFC: 2000 (PW) · 2003 (PW)
All-AFC: 2004 (PW) · 2005 (PW) · 2006 (PW)
(12) – 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
In the NFL Record Book (at time of his retirement following 2013 season)
Pro Bowl Records
Broncos records held by Bailey
(Records through the 2013 season, Bailey’s final season with Denver)
League/Team Statistical Titles
NFL Statistical Championships
Interceptions Titles: DEN 2006
AFC Statistical Championships
Team Statistical Championships
Interceptions Titles: WAS 2000, DEN 2004, DEN 2005, DEN 2006, DEN 2010, DEN 2011
Punt Return Title: WAS 2002
WAS Washington Redskins DEN Denver Broncos
Awards and Honors
Year-by-Year Team Records
1999 Washington Redskins....... 10-6-0 (1st)
2000 Washington Redskins........... 8-8-0 (3rd)
2001 Washington Redskins 8-8-0 (2nd)
2002 Washington Redskins........... 7-9-0 (3rd)
2003 Washington Redskins......... 5-11-0 (3rd)
2004 Denver Broncos 10-6-0 (2nd)
2005 Denver Broncos 13-3-0 (1st)
2006 Denver Broncos.................. 9-7-0 (3rd)
2007 Denver Broncos.................. 7-9-0 (3rd)
2008 Denver Broncos.................. 8-8-0 (2nd)
2009 Denver Broncos.................. 8-8-0 (2nd)
2010 Denver Broncos................. 4-12-0 (4th)
2011 Denver Broncos................. 8-8-0 (1st)
2012 Denver Broncos............... 13-3-0 (1st)
(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
2013 Denver Broncos 13-3-0 (1st
Full Name: Roland Champ Bailey
Birthdate: June 22, 1978
Birthplace: Fort Campbell, Kentucky
High School: Charlton County (Folkston, GA)
Pro Career: 15 seasons, 215 games
Drafted: 1st round (7th player overall) in 1999 by Washington Redskins
Okay, I'll remove my sunglasses so you can see my joy and because my wife said so. Now, I have to start by thanking God for Broncos Country.
I'll get back to you. Thanks, Jack, for being a mentor, friend, and a business partner from the very beginning, 20 years ago this year.
I also want to thank my fellow classmates. All of you guys inspired me, all of them. We'll forever be teammates, for life.
Also, a big thanks to the current Gold Jackets. Thanks, guys, for making us feel welcome the past few months. It's been amazing to know that I can call you my teammates forever.
I also want to say thank you to the Hall of Fame voters for getting it right the very first time.
Thank you to the Hall of Fame staff for taking care of all of us in our families all weekend long. I cannot thank you enough.
I must admit, I struggled a bit trying to write down the names of every person that I should be thanking today, but realistically it would take me hours to get through it, and I'm sure no one in here wants to hear me speak that long.
So, I'll begin with starting with my family. My family, now, they'd rather me not speak about them, but this first person, she relishes it, and that's my mom.
We call my mom Ma B. Now, I think that's a self‑titled nickname because that's how much confidence she has. I'm a very competitive person, and if anybody knows my mom, you ever play spades, checkers, Taboo, or any game with her, you would know where I get it from. She's the most competitive person I know.
She's also the one who named me Champ. Thank you, Mama, for all that pressure.
(Cheers and applause.)
And then there's my dad.
We didn't have much growing up, but my dad would give us his last dollar if it meant feeding his kids, and I love you for that.
Now, people also should know we get all of our athletic ability, me and my brothers, from our dad. He was tough. He actually probably should have been standing here before me, that's how good he was, but a neck injury forced him out of football.
He always had real subtle ways of motivating his kids. He would always say this one phrase that stuck with me through and through: If you're going to do something, try to be the best at doing it. And I think I did a good job trying, Pop.
I also want to thank my late grandmother, Joann Bailey. Back home we call her Ms. Cootsie. Now, Ms. Cootsie was the most inspiring woman I've ever known.
I'm not sure she ever realized the impact she had on her community. She would take in random homeless people, give them shelter, food, whatever they needed to survive. She would provide odd jobs around her property for anybody who was able to work. All the charity work I've done in my life was inspired by what I saw her do while I was growing up.
I spent a lot of time at the Denver Rescue Mission helping out homeless families, and my grandma deserves all the credit for that.
I love and miss you, Grandma.
Then there's my wife, Jessica, who's standing up, by the way. Man, she reminds me a lot of my grandmother. She has all the same qualities ‑‑ caring, loyal, and always trying to feed everybody.
She's also very strict and disciplined. You can ask our son Brayden about that and our soon‑to‑be one‑year‑old son Beckem. Thanks, babe, for dealing with me full‑time since I retired. I know I can be a handful. Thank you. I love you.
Now my kids. My two oldest, Keevan, Bria, please stand up.
Yes, Bria, stand up. They are the most bashful kids I know, but they are the most talented kids I know as well. I single you out because you're the oldest. Whitney, Jace, Maya, Alden, Beckem. Look at your older siblings. I mean, literally, look at them.
Man. You may not see it now, Bria and Keevan, but your brothers and sisters look up to you and wait for you to set the standard. I have all the confidence in the world that your successes will make your whole family proud. The only requirement you have is to inspire those trying to follow your footsteps, and that I know you would do.
I love you all so much and would do anything, I mean anything, as my dad did for me, I would do anything to help you fulfill your dreams. I love you.
All right. I know firsthand what it's like to grow up with an older sibling who does everything right. My older brother, Ron ‑‑ see, now, Boss is saying Boogie. That's what we used to call him, but I wasn't going to say that tonight. But, yeah, we used to call him Boogie growing up.
But, anyway, Ron was the standard, man. Everything he did, I tried to outdo it. I knew if I could beat whatever he did before me, then I could beat anybody.
Thanks, bro, for showing me how it's done. I love you, man.
And then my older sister Danielle. We call her Doll. If y'all don't notice, in South Georgia we love to give people nicknames. Simply put, she's the glue in our family because she's so nosey. She always knows what the problems are. Anytime issues come about, she's the one trying to right the ship.
She never really played any sports, but she had a lot to do with me standing here today ‑‑ keeping me out of trouble, always being loyal, always there for us, whether we wanted to laugh or cry. Geez. I love you, Sis.
Now my baby brother, Boss. Wow. A lot of you in here know Boss because he was so talented. Growing up, people always thought we were twins. We are 16 months apart. But by the time I was ten years old, we were the same size.
I have to remind you that I'm a very competitive person; so I could not let anyone younger than me do anything better than me, especially my baby brother. The only problem was he just got so athletic. He was so competitive and tried to do everything I did. Before long, he just got better than me at certain things. He just did.
We both played quarterback in high school, but he was a better passer. I vertical jumped 43 inches; he vertical jumped 46 inches. Wow. I blocked a couple of kicks in college; he blocked several. I lost count. Yes, my baby brother was a beast, but I still call him my baby brother.
Football has been the biggest part of my life. There's so many good and bad things and effects the game had on my life. I'll start with the bad. The game absolutely consumed me. I often missed, or dismissed, the most important things in life because I wasn't mature enough to prioritize my responsibilities.
I missed many precious moments of my kids' lives while trying to be the best football player I could be. I also wasn't as prepared as I thought for life after football. I could go on and on about all the challenges I faced at being a pro football player, but I believe you get the point.
There's so many good things the game simply gives you that the real world just doesn't, like teamwork, accountability, discipline, perseverance, just to name a few things. The game helped shape the man I am today, learning from lots of great coaches, great teammates, and others that directly supported the game.
I'd like to thank some of those people who helped me along my journey, and I'll start from the very beginning: My hometown of Folkston, Georgia, population 2,500, plus or minus. I want to thank a lot of people back home. And I'll use nicknames so everybody back home know who I'm talking about.
My cousin Kenny Boy, who's basically like a brother to me, sitting right here. Love you, boy. My cousins Jue, Trap, Cool, Var, Big Mike; my friends Bo Duke, Telly Blake, Cherry Right, Cheez, Carbo, Stu Maynor, JJ, Peanut, Joe ‑‑ look at my family laughing because they know ‑‑ Love, Tater Head ‑‑ who just texted me right before I came out here ‑‑ Daryl Baker, Willie Moore, Tony Mitchell, Joe Hagins, Russ and Chad Murray, Henry McMillan, who was the first person I ever saw or ever knew get a D1 scholarship.
And I always knew from that moment it just made a difference when you see someone that looks like you accomplish things that you think are impossible. Truly inspiring. Thank you, guys.
All of my high school head coaches. Specifically, I want to
Thank Coach Pitt, Coach Culpepper, Coach Baxter, Coach Hughes, Brian Huling, Coach Rich McWhorter, who just left our school after 30‑plus years of doing it. Wow.
You know, Coach Mac ‑‑ what we call him ‑‑ he used to always say these two things that stuck with me: Expect to win and visualize yourself doing something great. Thanks, Coach Mac. I love you, man.
And now my Georgia Bulldog family.
I grew up a Bulldog fan, and I always dreamed of attending the University of Georgia. I knew my chances of going there were great when my brother Ron signed a full football scholarship in 1993.
I then showed up three years later, in 1996, with promises made by my then head ‑‑ well, my soon‑to‑be head coach Jim Donnan, that I would be able to play whatever I wanted, and I did just that. I played kick returner, punt returner, running back, wide receiver, but I was listed at cornerback.
I was also allowed to run track at University of Georgia while also skipping most of winter workouts, a huge blessing. Thank you. I participated in the 60‑yard dash, the high jump, and the long jump. I was able to set the school indoor long jump record that still stands today at 25 feet, 10 inches.
(Cheers and applause.)
I would not be here today or talking about my track career if not given those opportunities. None of that would have been possible without you, Coach D. Thank you.
I also want to thank some of my other college coaches: Coach Greg Williams, Coach Gardner, Coach Mickey Matthews, Robert Miles, Ron Corson, Claude Felton, the late great Freddie Jones, Mrs. Leahy, and Mr. Everything, my boy, Bryant Gantt. Love you, boy. I sincerely thank all of you and many more for supporting my career during my days at UGA and beyond.
Although my coaches at Georgia played a huge role in my success, it's the guys that went to battle with me that inspire me the most. My whole Class of 1996, man, we thought we were hot. Only three of us played as a true freshman; so, we weren't that hot.
I want to thank those guys: Thad Parker, Cory Roberson, Pat Pass, Marcus Stroud, the late Eric Hall, my boy, Jonas Jennings, just to name a few.
I also want to thank those upperclassmen who were such selfless leaders. I learned a lot from you guys. Mike Bobo, Cory Johnson, Resty Beadles, Earl Chambers, Brandon Tolbert, Omari Hardwick, Trey Sipe, Jason Ferguson, Derrick Byrd, Greg Bright, Revis McClarin ‑‑ Rev Dog ‑‑ Hines Ward, Robert Edwards, Corey Allen, Glen Ford, and Kirby Smart, who's now our great head coach at University of Georgia. Thank you, guys. I love you.
In 1999, the dreams I had as a kid we're finally coming true when I was drafted by a storied franchise like the Washington Redskins.
Yeah there's a few here. Just a few. I want to thank Charley Casserly for making me the first defensive player taken that year. Thanks to my defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, and my DB coach, Tom Hayes, for their patience with me in my first season.
And a special thanks to Terry Robiskie, who should be a head coach, for allowing me the opportunity to score my first, my one and only, offensive touchdown of my career. Thanks, Coach.
I'm a firm believer the first few years of your career determine your foundation, whether good or bad. I was fortunate enough to have two great mentors on the field with me my first two years in Darrell Green and Deion Sanders.
Now, I want you to keep in mind that at that time both these guys are first ballot Hall of Famers if they retired that day I was with the Redskins, they would be first ballot Hall of Famers. And I did everything I could to soak up all that information while I was there.
Two things Darrell Green would always say to me that stuck with me, is your hands are great and your feet are better. Right? Now, he told me he always worked on his feet because he tried to stay away from big wide receivers because he was such a small guy. I appreciate you. I took that nugget. Thank you.
And two things Prime would always say to me: You ever see a cheetah stretch before he chase his prey?
Yeah, he says that. And never stretch. That's probably something I shouldn't have took from him, but I did.
And if you look good, you play good, and so forth. My guy. Thanks for the lessons, man. I love you guys.
There's many more teammates from my days in Washington that I want to thank. Bruce Smith, my fellow Hall of Famer, Daryl Pounds, Brian Mitchell ‑‑ B Mitch ‑‑ Sam Shade, Leomont Evans, Matt Stevens, Mark Carrier, Tim Denton, Kenard Lang, David Terrell, Marco Coleman, Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson, Brad Johnson, Shawn Barber, the late Kevin Mitchell, Stephen Davis, James Thrash, Michael Westbrook, Fred Smoot, Rod Gardner, Danny Wuerful, Lavar Arrington and Chris Samuels. All of you deserve some credit for my presence here today. Thank you, guys. I love you.
(Cheers and Applause.)
The best thing for my career happened in 2004.
I was traded to the Denver Broncos.
Once I began to learn about Mr. Bowlen and the Denver Broncos, I was sold. There are a few things I learned ‑‑ there are a few things I learned to appreciate from a good leader: They lead by example, they're accountable, they're competitive, and they know how to win. That was what I learned and loved about Mr. B.
(Cheers and applause.)
Jake Plummer, one of my former teammates, said, and I quote: Mr. B told me on multiple occasions that the players are the most important piece, and whatever we need or whatever we want, we can have so we can focus on our jobs.
Rod Smith said, and I quote ‑‑
‑‑ Mr. B was so unselfish, never wanting the spotlight for himself, while working behind the scenes, making an impact, not only with the Broncos, but throughout the
Entire NFL. Simply put, Mr. B was a great man and a great leader. He will surely be missed, but he will forever be my teammate. I love you.
I also want to thank the rest of the Bowlen family for treating me like a part of your family from the moment I arrived in Broncos Country. Thank you. I love you guys.
I also want to thank Mike Shanahan for putting ‑‑
Yep. Man. Mike Shanahan put me in positions to thrive during my prime years. I thank you for that. I love you for that.
I also want to thank Rick Smith and Ted Sundquist for believing in me as well. Thank you, guys.
There are many of my Broncos teammates here tonight who I had a chance to thank last night at our party, but I want to thank a few more that showed up here today: Chris Harris, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe.
Thank you, guys, for showing up. It was great going to battle with you. Love you.
Rod Smith, thank you, too, baby. D.J. Williams, I see you out there. House, I see you, boy. Don't try to duck. Love you guys, man. Mike Adams, thank you, too, brother. Thank you. I'm praying for you for 16, baby.
Surrounding every NFL football team, there's several hundreds of people who don't get the credit that they deserve. I was able to thank a lot of them last night, but I have to thank some of them again tonight. I have to give a special thanks to the Denver Broncos president, Joe Ellis, for what he's done for me ‑‑
‑‑ for what he's done for the franchise, and everything he's done for everybody that he touches throughout Denver for the past few years. Thanks, Joe.
I also want to thank the great Jim Saccomano. I also want to thank Greek and his crew, Flip, Jay, Harry. Love you guys, man. Kenny, love you, man. Box, Hooch and the guys, I love you. Pam, Patrick, Eric, all of you, man. Fred, Lisa, Veronica, everything y'all have done for us the past few months, the past few years, been great. Thank you.
Kelly, Cindy, thanks for making me stay on top of my charity duties. Thank you. Love you guys. Luke, Rich Tuten, Crime Dog, Cedrick Smith, and many, many more people that I just cannot thank because we don't have that much time.
I salute my Bronco fans.
Every single home game I could feel your energy. Even in San Diego, a road game, you would make it feel like a home game. It was so infectious. I cannot overstate how grateful I am to be part of the Broncos family. I will always consider Denver my home.
And I'm super proud to be standing here today as the seventh member of the Denver Broncos to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Okay. I consider myself ‑‑ I personally consider myself an expert of the game of football. Random people always ask me: Will you be a coach one day? No. Can you teach my kid a few things about the game? Yes. People ask these questions because they also believe I have unique knowledge that only a few people possess, like these guys.
Tonight, I thank many people who supported my career, and many of you are my closest friends. Some of you are also considered experts of the game as much as I am. Out of the people I mentioned tonight, most of you are black men, my brothers. Some of you athletes; some of you not athletes. But we are all black men first, something we have more expertise in than any aspect of our lives.
I'm a firm believer that if you want to create change, you better start with your friends and your family. So, I'm starting here today. The first thing people see when they look at me is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer or a husband or a father. They view me first as a black man.
So on behalf of all the black men that I've mentioned tonight, and many more out there, who've had the most of the same experiences that I've had in my lifetime, we say this to all of our white friends: When we tell you about our fears, please listen. When we tell you we're afraid for our kids, please listen.
When we tell you there are many challenges we face because of the color of our skin, please listen. And please do not get caught up in how the message is delivered. Yes.
Yes, most of us black men are athletes, but we are black men first. Understand this: Things that make us great on the field, like our size and our aggression, are the same things that can get us killed off the field.
I believe if we start listening, there's no telling the progress we can make. All of us are dads, sons, brothers, your friends. We all understand that if we can't get our friends to listen, then no one will. And to my black brothers, if you do not have anything positive to say about our social challenges, please keep your mouths shut.
I close the night by saying there's nothing more important in a success story than being inspired by someone or something. I'm not the only one who has a long list of inspirations. I am surrounded on this stage by my new teammates. Love you guys.
So many of these great men inspired me, and I know I would not be here without them. If not for them, I would not be standing here today. I will remain forever humbled by this honor. Love you guys. Thank you. Have a good night.