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Kiszla: Champ Bailey best defensive player in Broncos history

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  • Kiszla: Champ Bailey best defensive player in Broncos history

    To tell the truth, cornerback Champ Bailey didn't expect to be here. He didn't expect to be in first place. Heck, he didn't expect to be in Denver. He was as good as gone from the Broncos a year ago.

    "A year ago, I didn't know if the Broncos even wanted me," Bailey said Wednesday. "I didn't know if I would be back. The signs were it wasn't going to happen."

    The improbable tale of how Denver became the NFL's best comeback story of 2011 could not have been written without Bailey coming back to town, when he could have found fortune elsewhere. So maybe it's time we recognize this 10-time Pro Bowler for all he's worth: Bailey is the best defensive player in franchise history.

    "Thanks," Bailey told me, accepting the praise with humility.

    At age 33, he is too busy running down dreams to dwell on his legacy.

    But make no mistake. "One of my goals is to be in the Hall of Fame and be mentioned among the greatest," Bailey said.

    Declaring Bailey the No. 1 defender ever to wear a Broncos jersey is saying a mouthful, certain to ignite debate. Denver is a franchise with a hard-earned defensive reputation. There are bruises caused from tackles by Rich "Tombstone" Jackson in the 1960s that are yet to heal.

    And the hits have kept on coming for decades. Here is one man's opinion of the best five Broncos to draw a line in the dirt and make a defensive stand:

    1) Bailey: Thrives despite league rules rigged against him.

    2) Steve Atwater: Real MVP of the first Super Bowl victory.

    3) Randy Gradishar: Put the pop in the Orange Crush.

    4) Karl Mecklenburg: The thinking man's wrecking ball.

    5) Louis Wright: Among most underrated corners of all time.

    By accepting a new contract worth in excess of $40 million and committing to the Broncos through 2014, it appeared Bailey might have forfeited any chance to win the Super Bowl. The conventional wisdom was that former coach Josh McDaniels had doomed the franchise to failure for the foreseeable future.

    So how did Denver get here, from the depths of a 1-4 start to serious talk about making the playoffs?

    "I don't think anybody could have predicted this. We've got seven wins. And that's already better than last year," Bailey said. "But I don't want it to stop here. I still want to win that ring."

    Funny how life works. Wasn't Nnamdi Asomugha , who took $60 million and ran from Oakland to Philadelphia as a free agent, supposed to be the cornerback living the NFL dream? Before this season, the Eagles were the trendy choice as a hot championship contender. The Broncos were considered busts.

    "The grass is not only greener. You can go try to find it. But I look at Nnamdi. Where is he now? Out of the playoffs. And look at his old team. Look at the Raiders. They still have a chance. So you never know," Bailey said.

    Since assuming control of the team's football operations in January, John Elway has quickly compiled some worthy achievements on his executive resume. Yes, we're talking even greater deeds than old No. 7 opening a Twitter account. The team tabbed linebacker Von Miller with the second selection in the NFL draft. The signing of running back Willis McGahee brought the ball-control offense favored by new coach John Fox to life.

    But, a year ago at this time, McDaniels held a freshly printed pink slip, the Broncos were a league-wide laughingstock and the relationship between the team and Bailey was on the rocks. Without Elway, would Bailey be wearing a Denver uniform now?

    "He does call the shots around here. So he had a lot to do with it," Bailey said.

    On Bailey's way out the exit door from Dove Valley, Elway intercepted the best defensive player in franchise history and persuaded him to stick around.

    It was best interception of Elway's career.

    http://www.denverpost.com/commented/...mmented-sports
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  • #2
    This was actually already posted on here a little while back, but it's an enjoyable read.
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    - ★ -
    2012 Adopt a Bronco : Joe Mays

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    • #3
      Already posted but good article... need to get Champ a ring ...this year

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      • #4
        Champ's got my vote for the best! Good guy in real life too. :thumb:
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        • #5
          My bad! I never saw it. I thought it would've been one of the articles that stayed on the main page for a while. Sorry about that. Just got tired of using the search function..lol
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          • #6
            Good article, I love Champ, he never minces his words, I really hope we can give him his ring before he retires, I cant think of one player on the roster who deserves it more
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            "I bleed orange and will always bleed orange and blue."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RichterScale View Post
              Good article, I love Champ, he never minces his words, I really hope we can give him his ring before he retires, I cant think of one player on the roster who deserves it more
              Champ is my favourite player around, but Brian Dawkins is right up there as someone that absolutely should retire with a ring.
              Luckily for both of them they're on the same team, so... get it done boys!

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              - ★ -
              2012 Adopt a Bronco : Joe Mays

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JayJack View Post
                My bad! I never saw it. I thought it would've been one of the articles that stayed on the main page for a while. Sorry about that. Just got tired of using the search function..lol
                I didn't either. Good read! Thanks!
                "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                • #9
                  I know when Champ decided to stay it was the first sign of hope I had in the offseason.

                  If Champ wanted to chase a ring elsewhere I would have not blamed him one bit

                  When he chose to stay he became one of my favorite Broncos all time
                  Time to build on the win and grow the team from some solid play higher level of play

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                  • #10
                    Don't get me wrong, I love Champ and believe that he certainly deserves to be enshrined in Canton. That is a feat that no Broncos Defensive player has achieved or probably will before him. That being said, Gradishar was dominate for more than a decade and Smith and Atwater revolutionized their positions. Champ even knows that a day in which his name is never mentioned by the announcer is a perfect day. For this reason alone, I put those three ahead of Louis Wright and Champ Baily. I do love them all though.

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                    • #11
                      Love Champ but wish he would just shave.



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                      • #12
                        Champ is the man I love that he is still a Bronco !!!! However if Miller stays healthy for his entire career he will be the greatest defender in Broncos History hands down
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JayJack View Post
                          My bad! I never saw it. I thought it would've been one of the articles that stayed on the main page for a while. Sorry about that. Just got tired of using the search function..lol
                          First time I've seen it, so thanks for the re-post. I would definitely have Champ up there with Smith and Atwater. I didn't get to watch the old Orange Crush defense so I can't speak from experience on those guys.

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                          • #14
                            need to get a champ jersey

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by thundercty View Post
                              Love Champ but wish he would just shave.



                              He can't shave it now- that's the rally/good luck beard!!!

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