Over the years, Champ Bailey has gotten adjusted to the idea of teams avoiding him as though his side of the field were virally infected. That makes the fact that he has logged more interceptions in the last two years than anyone else in the NFL all the more amazing.
Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals tested Bailey twice too many times.
“I got two balls (thrown in my direction),” Bailey said. “Two picks. I thought maybe I’d get more balls, but I made it happen when they came over.”
Interceptions number seven and eight on the season gave him a total of 19 over his three Denver campaigns — 16 in the last two years. Only one Bronco has ever picked off more passes in a two-year span — Ring of Famer Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin, who procured 17 passes in the Broncos’ first two seasosn.
But Bailey expects a few more to come Sunday against Cincinnati. In the Broncos’ last duel with the Bengals two years ago, Chad Johnson got past Bailey by a step and beat him for a pair of 50-yard receptions.
He did, however, bounce back with one of his three interceptions that season.
“I’m not afraid of any challenge,” Bailey said after that 23-10 Denver loss on Oct. 25, 2004. “I don’t care. I still feel like I’m the best. I don’t give a (hoot) who’s out there. I don’t care. That’s just the way I roll. I’m going to keep on ticking.”
Two years and nearly two months later, Bailey knows what to expect in the rematch — “a whole lot” of passes his way.
“That’s one team that doesn’t care who’s in front of you; they’re going to throw it,” he said. “They love it.”
But more importantly …
“I love it,” he said.