After fifteen years in the NFL, Champ Bailey will play in the Super Bowl.
“It feels very special,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said, via the team’s official website. “This is my fourth year and Champ has been in the game so long, so long. And all we talk about when I talk to him is, he wants to go to the Super Bowl. I’m so happy for him.”
The 35-year-old Bailey has made over 1,000 tackles in the regular season and postseason in his career. He’s grabbed 54 interceptions, broken up 245 passes, but has never made it past the AFC Championship Game.
“You’ve got to be blessed and be thankful to be in this position,” said receiver Eric Decker. “Guys like him that have put a lot into football, have given a lot to the NFL – is a future Hall of Famer – to give him an opportunity to be in the Super Bowl is what the young guys really cherish and push for.”
Bailey has dealt with a nagging foot injury all-season, and made only five starts. But he played a crucial role in the Broncos 26-16 win over the New England Patriots.
“It feels good,” Bailey said. “I never doubted that I’d be back out there. It hurt not being out there, but here I am. I’m on the field and my team’s still in the running. That’s what it’s all about.”
“It’s all about my family and these guys that I strap it up with every day,” the cornerback added. “They really made this happen for me. It’s a good way to top off 15 years. We’ve just got to go win the next one.”
Bailey made three tackles in the win.
“I’m certainly happy for Champ, I know a lot of people are,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “It’s hard to get to the Super Bowl. It’s hard to win it, but I’m telling you it’s hard to get there. I’m happy for Champ. I know he’s excited. He played well today, I’m glad that he’s back out there on the field. He’s battled through some injuries and has stayed at it and been committed to his rehab. I know he’s excited and I’m certainly happy for him.”