Champ Bailey Denver Broncos & Washington Redskins
“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.”
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.