Good Saturday morning, Broncos Country!
In what better be his first Hall of Fame induction, former Broncos shutdown corner Champ Bailey will be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame April 27 along with six other outstanding athletes.
Von Miller will also be honored at the banquet as one of the 2016 Colorado Athletes of the Year.
Bailey, who came to the Broncos from the Redskins as part of an interesting trade deal for running back Clinton Portis in 2004, was not only one of the best corners in the NFL, he was a consistent leader for a decade with the Broncos.
"We needed some help. We needed a pillar to build around and Champ was that guy," Broncos GM John Elway said at Bailey’s retirement ceremony in 2014. "He ended up leading us to three AFC West championships, something we had never done before. But also the loyalty that he showed to the Denver Broncos. It showed what the Denver Broncos meant to him and what kind of guy he was and the character that he possessed."
Among wide receivers and quarterbacks, Bailey was one of the most feared athletes in the league. Even past his prime, quarterbacks were still avoiding No. 24.
"Every adjective you could put to a cornerback, Champ exemplified that," Elway said at Bailey’s retirement, adding that what really put Bailey in the top echelon of cornerbacks was his willingness to be one of the 11 guys to stop the running game also. "Champ was one of those guys that committed to that and showed the toughness that he had. That's why he will be one of the best corners that ever played the game."
Among Bailey’s storied NFL career, the 2005-2006 seasons will stand out as his best, recording 18 interceptions over that two-year period, most in the NFL since Everson Walls' 18 from 1981-1982.
Champ had 10 interceptions in 2006 alone, tying him for the NFL lead that year and propelling him to a second-place finish for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
But one of his most dramatic and most remembered plays is the near pick-6 he had on Tom Brady in the 2006 AFC divisional playoff in New England. He intercepted in the end zone and ran 100 yards to the one-yard line.
"It changed the game at that moment. It flipped that game," Bailey said of his phenomenal interception. "It's one of the best memories that I have."
Joining Bailey in the CSHOF will be Dante Bichette, Jeremy Bloom, Maurice "Stringy" Ervin, Hashim Khan and John Wooten.
Dylan McCaffrey, the third standout athlete son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, will also be honored as one of the 2016 Colorado High School Athletes of the Year.
Congrats Champ and Von! In due time, we'll be celebrating your inductions to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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