ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Champ Bailey’s sprained left foot will keep him on the sideline Sunday when Mike Shanahan returns to Denver.
“It’s definitely a game I hate to miss, but I can’t play,” Bailey said Friday after being ruled out against the Washington Redskins. “And I’m cool with it. I can’t do anything about it. I’ve just got to do everything I can to help my guys get ready.”
The 15th-year veteran reinjured his foot in last week’s loss to Indianapolis that snapped Denver’s six-game winning streak. That was his second game back after missing the first five with the injury.
Bailey said he hopes to return to action at San Diego on Nov. 10 following the Broncos’ bye.
“That gives me a couple of weeks to get right,” Bailey said.
He added that his latest sprain was only “a minor setback but it’s definitely a setback.”
The 35-year-old cornerback whose dozen Pro Bowl selections are the most by a defensive back in NFL history, has played just six quarters this season.
“It’s very frustrating because we’re talking about my feet, and I want to be able to play but I also want to be able to walk in the future,” Bailey said. “So, I’ve just got to make sure I take care of them and not make it any worse than what it is.”
Even though he won’t be suited up, Bailey said he’s excited to see his former coach who famously traded for him in 2004 when he sent running back Clinton Portis to the Redskins.
Bailey is one five Broncos still on the roster from the Shanahan era. Other members of that exclusive club are: middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard, left tackle Ryan Clady (who’s on IR), kicker Matt Prater, and right guard Chris Kuper.
Shanahan was fired in 2009, a day that took Denver by surprise because he’d been dubbed “coach for life” by team owner Pat Bowlen.
“It definitely was a sad day here to see your head coach get fired, but it comes with the territory,” Bailey said. “It’s just how this business is. Normally people don’t last 14 years in one place.”
Bailey, Prater and Woodyard all said they owed Shanahan a debt of gratitude for bringing them to Denver.
“I was actually on the Dolphins’ practice squad and I thought they were joking when they told me that they’d claimed me. I was like, ‘No way, they have Jason Elam,'” recounted Prater, who has supplanted Elam as the most accurate kicker in franchise history.
Woodyard, who signed with the Broncos after Shanahan made a personal pitch after he went undrafted in 2008, said he expects his old coach to receive a warm reception Sunday.
“I’m sure they’re going to cheer loud and welcome him back,” Woodyard said. “He’s a great coach. He never did anything wrong. He won a couple of Super Bowls here.”
Bailey said he will certainly applaud following the pregame video honoring Shanahan.
“Of course. He’s the reason I came here, so I owe him a lot. So, why not?” Bailey said. “It’s just a moment. I won’t clap for him all day.”
Notes: RT Orlando Franklin (ankle) is 50-50 for Sunday, and coach John Fox indicated that if he’s unable to play, he’ll go with Chris Kuper at right guard and Louis Vasquez at right tackle again. That is providing, however, that Kuper is available. He’s also listed as questionable and didn’t practice until Friday, when he was limited. If Kuper and Franklin can’t go, look for Winston Justice to get his first start at right tackle with Vasquez returning to right guard.
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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