Champ Bailey had his best years with the Denver Broncos.
But he was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career as a member of the Washington Redskins, earning four Pro Bowl nods in five seasons after being selected seventh overall in the 1999 NFL draft.
Despite being an all-time Redskins great, nobody from Washington reached out to Bailey about his election to the Hall of Fame, where he’ll be enshrined on Saturday.
Bailey: Redskins just reached out about Hall
That is until three days ago, according to Bailey.
Wow. Champ Bailey said, "Nobody from Washington had called me until three days ago. Nobody.”— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 2, 2019
Bailey tied to birth of Daniel Snyder era
Bailey’s arrival in Washington coincided with that of owner Daniel Snyder, who purchased the team in 1999 and whose presence has festered new heights of American professional sports dysfunction currently rivaled only by James Dolan’s New York Knicks.
With Donald Sterling excommunicated from the NBA and Jeffrey Loria counting his mounds of Miami Marlins cash, there’s a fair argument that there is no worse owner in sports than Snyder.
So that nobody from the team that Snyder claims to have been a rabid fan of as a boy only to pummel into the ground as an adult reached out to Bailey comes as little surprise.
Prime example of dysfunction under Snyder
Twenty years into the Snyder era in D.C., perhaps nothing better embodies the dysfunction he’s wrought on what used to be one of the league’s premier franchises better than a former player scoffing at the idea of representing the team in the Hall of Fame.
“I mean, no,” Bailey said when asked by the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Woody Paige if he considered entering the Hall as a Washington player. “It was never on the table.”
How did Bailey end up in Denver?
The deal that sent Bailey to Denver was one of the biggest blockbusters in NFL history. Bailey had established himself as arguably the best cornerback in football during his time in D.C. But a salary-cap strapped Redskins team wasn’t prepared for the big payday that Bailey would command.
With Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis’ flair for attention running thin with by-the-book Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, the two sides worked out a deal to swap a pair of Pro Bowlers in their prime in 2004.
While the Broncos clearly got the better of the deal in hindsight, it was viewed as a fairly even swap in NFL circles at the time. This was back when running backs had actual value in the NFL, and both players were legitimate difference-makers.
So the fact that Washington traded away Bailey isn’t the most damning indictment of Snyder in relation to the now Hall of Fame cornerback.
That Bailey wants nothing to do with the team that drafted him absolutely is.
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