User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Broncos release CB Champ Bailey

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

DENVER (AP) - Champ Bailey spent a decade with the Denver Broncos, making eight Pro Bowls and picking off 34 passes even with quarterbacks only reluctantly glancing his way.

Advertisement
This number was hard to overlook: $10 million.

In a salary-cap move Thursday, the Broncos released Bailey, the team's defensive leader who's been a fan favorite since he was acquired in a trade with Washington in 2004.

There's simply no room for loyalty in the NFL, especially with free agency about to start and with holes needing to be filled, something that became apparent to the Broncos after a 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl last month.

Broncos boss John Elway called the decision to release Bailey a ''difficult'' one given all that the perennial Pro Bowl cornerback has brought to the team over his 10 seasons in the Mile High City.

''Without question, he's among the best cornerbacks to ever play the game and one of the finest players in the history of the Broncos,'' Elway said in a statement. ''You couldn't ask for more in a player than what Champ brought to this team. His combination of elite talent, class, leadership and competitiveness made him one of the all-time greats.''

But age and injuries had begun to catch up with one of the best shutdown cornerbacks to play the game. Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowler overall, is scheduled to make around $10 million next season, which is a lot of money for a cornerback who may be asked to switch to safety or possibly inside to the slot position.

This was a hard season for the 35-year-old Bailey as he missed 11 games because of a nagging left foot sprain originally suffered in the preseason on Aug. 17 in Seattle. Only later did Bailey reveal he sustained a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves a separation of ligaments and joints in the foot and requires an arduous rehab.

He returned late in the season to help the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl, but wasn't back to his old form - the form that had QBs scanning everywhere but his direction.

In his prime, Bailey wasn't always very busy because opponents simply picked on his counterpart. And yet he still has 52 career interceptions, the most among active cornerbacks.

''I consider it a privilege to have coached Champ these last three years,'' Broncos coach John Fox said. ''There's no doubt he played an integral role in establishing a culture of winning here.

''Aside from his natural ability, Champ set a great example with his hard work and relentless commitment to mastering his craft.''

The 15-year veteran mentored many teammates, teaching them the tricks of the cornerback trade. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, an impending free agent, once said he used to study film of Bailey simply because, ''If you're a cornerback, you have to be a fan of Champ Bailey. Anytime a guy does that for a period of time he did it, 14 or 15 years, you've got to watch him.''

Rodgers-Cromartie and Bailey were supposed to be a lockdown tandem in 2013.

Until Bailey got hurt.

So in stepped Chris Harris Jr., an undrafted player out of Kansas who soaked up all of Bailey's suggestions as he waited his turn. Once he got on the field, Harris became almost a copy of Bailey - or as much as anyone can be. Harris blew out a knee against San Diego in the divisional round, leading to Bailey's return to his usual spot at left corner.

On his Twitter account, Harris thanked Bailey for his help, saying he was blessed to be able to ''lineup opposite Champ and learn from a Great.''

Harris wasn't alone in his praise, with linebacker Danny Trevathan posting on Twitter: ''Champ. You taught me a lot!''

Although quarterbacks didn't always pick on him, Bailey still found a way to get involved. He prided himself on his tackling and frequently crept up to the line of scrimmage to help out. In 215 regular-season games, Bailey has 983 tackles, three sacks, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

His best statistical season was 2006, when he had a career-high 10 interceptions and finished as runner-up for The Associated Press' Defensive Player of the Year.

About the only thing that eluded Bailey in his time with Denver was that Super Bowl ring. But Elway said there is a ''ring'' in Bailey's future because Elway said he's going to have a place in the team's Ring of Fame once his career is finished.

Maybe down the road there will be a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, too, which would make him the first Denver defensive player to be enshrined.

''On behalf of everyone with the Broncos, I wish Champ all the best and thank him for everything he did for this franchise,'' Elway said. ''Champ will always be a Bronco.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Rose: Sharp Moves - Week 8
Lawrence: Inside the Stats - Week 8
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 8
Manning, Broncos top Chargers, 35-21
Titans' Mettenberger will start at QB
Lions' Johnson doubtful for London game
Tony Gonzalez enjoys talking football, too
Former player 'Bull' Bramlett dies at 73
Landry says SEC prepared him for NFL
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
2-0 Thurs., 9-2 Sunday, +1,569 TY
5-1 L6, 19-9 L6 Sundays, +1,225
6-0 L3 Sundays, 10-1 Win Streak
10-2 Last 12 Guarantees
4-1 L5, 12-5 L17 NFL Picks
6-3 L2 Sundays, 14-7 NFL Run
4-2 Sunday, 8-3 Guarantees TY
6-2 Over/Unders This Year
8-3 L11 Guaranteed Plays
4-1 Record Sunday
8-2 L10 G-Plays, 11-6 L17 Totals
5-1 NFL Week 7 Record
12-2 L14 Guaranteed Plays
3-1 Sunday, 6-2 L8 Selections
2-0 Monday, 10-2 L12 Guarantees
NCAAFB College Football Expert Sports Picks - BYU Cougars at Boise State Broncos
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1569
ASA + 1225
Bruce Marshall + 924
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 390
Kevin Rogers + 390
Doc's Sports + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
ASA 63 %
Doc's Sports 63 %
Brian Edwards 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1155
Antony Dinero + 749
Marc Lawrence + 535
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 795
ASA + 555
Bruce Marshall + 395
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
ASA + 590
Doc's Sports + 580
The SportsBoss + 285
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest