Will the Denver Broncos retire Champ Bailey's No. 24 jersey?
Unofficially, they already have.
According to Broncos rookie cornerback Bradley Roby, in his weekly Q&A column with readers at The Denver Post, Roby settled on jersey No. 29 because the number he wanted, 24, was unofficially reserved for Bailey, even though Bailey had just been cut by the Broncos and had signed with the New Orleans Saints.
"The number 24 was available," wrote Roby, when asked about how he settled on No. 29. "I remember asking (general manager John) Elway when I first got here if I could have 24. He was like, 'I will have to think about that.'"
In other words: No, rookie.
"I realized right then I needed to prove myself first," Roby continued. "And now that I have been here, met Champ, gone to his retirement ceremony and seen first-hand how much he meant to this organization, I would never wear it. I knew he was great. I just wanted a number other than 29. What Champ did here, nobody will ever match. His number will be retired here."
Bradley's comments are interesting because the Broncos have only retired three jersey numbers in team history, and one of those didn't even stick: Floyd Little's No. 44, John Elway's No. 7, and Frank Tripucka's No. 18 (which Peyton Manning received permission to take out of retirement in 2012). Retiring Bailey's No. 24 would be an exceptionally rare honor for this franchise.
But, reading Roby's story, Elway and the Broncos have all but already done it. It wouldn't surprise me if they go ahead and make it official, making Bailey's jersey the fourth/third retired number in franchise history. Bailey meant that much to the Broncos.
Meanwhile, changing jersey numbers is still an option for Roby. He explained that he didn't want the No. 29 at first, and that he'll only keep it if he "can make it stick."
But Bailey's 24 won't be considered. That jersey is already retired in Roby's mind.
Salute to the great Champ Bailey ! Definitely a role model of mine !— Bradley Roby (@BradRoby_1) October 28, 2014