It’s Just Business, Broncos Wave Goodbye to Champ Bailey
The Denver Broncos release of veteran cornerback Champ Bailey was not particularly enjoyable for either party, but the fact is, it's just business.
Champ Bailey isn't the first future hall-of-famer to be shown the door by the team he gave so much of his career to. From superstars like Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson, to modern day stars like Jerry Rice, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning, football has always been a business, and decisions to release or trade franchise players are most often grounded in business decisions.
There are times when an athlete's exit if of his own choosing, on his own time table. We think of John Elway, who, almost certainly would have been welcomed back by the Denver Broncos for another season, but chose to hang it up and retire after winning back to back Super Bowls. That there is the ideal scenario.
It doesn't always happen that way. Champ Bailey feels he can still play at a high level. Many Denver Broncos fans would question that sentiment, as apparently does the Broncos organization. Bailey played just five games this past season because of injuries, and was due to make $9 million in the coming season. That is a lot of money to be paying out for a player who may or may not be on the field, and on a team that obviously has some holes to fill and issues to resolve if they hope to get back to the Super Bowl and win it.
It was the right move for the Broncos. There is no doubt about it. Champ has given the Broncos many great years, and there is no question that when the Broncos traded Clinton Portis to the Washington Redskins for Bailey, the Broncos got the better end of the deal. Bailey is headed to the Hall of Fame, Portis has been out of football for years and will be remembered only as a splash in the NFL. But, Champ has clearly slowed down while the game of football has not.
We are grateful for the years with Champ Bailey, but it's time to move on. We are equally gratefully that John Elway and the Broncos were able to make this decision with their heads, and not their hearts. It's just business.