John Elway just proved that none of his players next season will be on the roster for sentimental purposes.
Champ Bailey came to Denver in 2004 as a result of one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.
The young cornerback from the Redskins was shipped in exchange for the oft-injured Clinton Portis.
The rest is history.
During his prime in the mid-2000s, Bailey put up some ridiculous numbers. The former University of Georgia star totaled 10 interceptions in 2005 and failed to allow a touchdown.
He was also responsible for one of the top Broncos highlights in playoff history when he picked off Tom Brady in the 2006 divisional playoffs.
Before Revis Island existed, there was Champ’s Corner. The stud cornerback completely shut down almost any receiver he matched up with, including Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, Chad Johnson, etc.
As he got older, Bailey became known as not only a terrific cover cornerback, but also as a terrific tackler.
He did it all and did it well for a long time.
Here’s ridiculous proof that Bailey will go down as one of the top five defensive backs in NFL history.
From 2000-2012, he missed just one Pro Bowl. That’s a record for any cornerback.
Bailey will not only be remembered for his sterling play, but also for the class he showed throughout the up-and-down career in Denver.
Consider that Bailey stuck with the Broncos through the years of Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow as quarterback.
He never complained.
And he never possessed the outlandish, diva mentality that cornerbacks exude in today’s NFL (looking at you, Richard Sherman).
Bailey now enters free agency for the first time in his illustrious career. He may have lost a step or two, but he will bring a Hall of Fame portfolio to his next employer.
I wish nothing but the best for one of my all-time favorite Broncos. It will be a special day when number 24 retires in orange and blue.
Long live the Champ.