Champ Bailey was one of the best cornerbacks in recent Redskins history. The team’s first-round draft choice in 1999 was with the team for five years, starting all 80 games, picking off 18 passes and making the Pro Bowl in each of his last four seasons in Washington.
When his rookie contract expired in 2004 the Redskins put the franchise tag on Bailey and ended up trading him and a second-round choice to the Broncos for Clinton Portis (cue gnashing of teeth by Redskins fans).
Portis was pretty good for the Redskins but Bailey has been great for the Broncos with 34 interceptions, eight Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro selections in his 10 seasons there.
And now, in the twilight of his career, Bailey will play in his first Super Bowl. He’s quite happy about the way things turned out.
"Leaving the Redskins was the best thing to happen to my career,” he said from his podium during the Super Bowl media day. “I wouldn't be here" if that hadn’t happened.
Many Redskins fans may take that comment as being harsh but the truth hurts sometimes. The Redskins have made the playoffs just three times since Bailey left and have never advanced as far as the NFC title game. Although they certainly would have been better with Bailey playing corner, it’s hard to say that if Bailey had been here the Redskins would have advanced to the Super Bowl at any point.
Bailey wasn’t all negative towards his former team. He did say that Darrell Green, Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback and Bailey’s teammate for four years in Washington, made him the player he is today.
So there’s that.