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Champ Bailey Interview


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Don't ask me why I'm posting this cause I really don't know.


Let's start out with the obvious question. Could you tell me the history behind your first name, Champ?

CHAMP: Oh man, there's no history really. I was three years old, and my mom just started calling me the Champ. She doesn't even know why. My dad doesn't know why. She just started calling me that after something happened, it's just that she can't remember.

As I understand it, you visit your family in Folkston, Georgia after almost every game. Could you tell me what kind of role they've played in your life both personally and professionally?

CHAMP: Having their support. I mean, they've raised me as who I've been all my life. Just going back and seeing them almost every week, is makes me feel good. It makes me feel that they're still there. They support me one hundred and ten percent and they keep me going. It's just the people I'm comfortable around.

What kind of supporting role does your mother play in your life?

CHAMP: She's played every role almost , (smiling) except my dad's. She does everything for me, since I was in college, and highschool. Signing papers, helping with charities, anything , anything you can name, she's pretty much done it all. She's very strong, she's always positive, and has never let me down on anything. She always has her head up.

That's great to have a family that is supportive and strong. Now let's talk football. In your three seasons at Georgia, you were regarded as one of the greatest multiple threats (you played on offense, defense, and special teams) now playing mostly cornerback do you miss playing those other positions or are you more focused on being the best at one position?

CHAMP: I like to do it all really. It's kind of frustrating. You get in there, and you know you can do something real well, but you really don't get a shot. I mean, you get a shot , but you don't get a shot. I love cornerback, but I love receiver, I love returning kicks, I love returning punts. But you know I can't do it all at once. So you're waiting until? Until somebody says "go ahead and do it." I love to have the ball.

Champ hasn't yet been asked to resume the multi-purpose role he was so accustomed in college, but that option may open up down the road.

In 1999 you set the NFL record for being the youngest player to intercept three passes in one game, namely against the Arizona Cardinals in week six where you had three interceptions, including a 59-yard return for a touchdown. This led to a 24-10 win. Do you see more record breaking down the road? Are you aiming for any specific records to break?

CHAMP: I can visualize a few things that might happen. I don't know what exactly yet, but considering there are only so many records a cornerback can have, I might get a few in. That takes years though. Anything particular going on with the Cardinals' quarterback? Jay Plummer, that' s the guy who I got those three picks from, but that's about it. Nothing personal.

At 21, Champ had become the youngest player in NFL history to return an interception for a touchdown and the youngest to have three interceptions in one game.

There is a lot of speculation surrounding the possibility of your going to the pro bowl this year, how do you feel about that prospect?

CHAMP: I try to stay out of it. I mean, it's more of a hype thing right now. And I think if I focus on what I have to do now, then I'll go, and then I'll worry about it, and make my plans. But right now I'm not trying to think about it.

What are you thinking about?

CHAMP: St. Louis , ( laughing ) You know this is the chance- it's Monday night , they have the best passing offense in the league. And if I want to go to the Pro Bowl then I need to shine on Monday night. Then they gotta let me in there.

In the third and fourth quarters of the St Louis game, Washington ended up scoring 12 points, turning a 20-19 deficit into an overwhelming lead and a 33-20 win.

Anything can happen out on the field. With such a physical and competitive career what contingencies and investments have you made to prepare for the future?

CHAMP: Well right now, I'm dealing with my money manager, and he's established a lot of things, made a few investments here and there for me. But, trying to get involved with Technology companies, is really the thing I'm trying do. Get my name out there; let them know I'm interested. Because that's what it's all about now , technology. And the more I know about it; the better off I'll be in the future. It's something I took interest in this past year, knowing what to do and what to get involved with. Now I'm interested and starting to read a lot more about it. I'm learning who owns this company and what not.

I understand you are about to become a spokesperson for local company; Champion Tech Ventures?

CHAMP: I'll play the role they want me to play, it's kinda like they call me and let me know what they want me to do and agree on it. And I just go from there. I want to be involved with the companies they're involved with. It' s an opportunity I just can't pass up. Whatever they do, I'm going to be involved with it. And I'm going to take an interest in everything.

At 22, handsome, smart and successful how are you handling dating in DC?

CHAMP: Boy! Well I go out a few times, but, I don't really date that much. I kind of just ( starts laughing ) I can't put that on there, I'm setting myself up. Aaahh, I meet people but I try to stay away from dating.

Why do you stay away from dating?

CHAMP: Uhhh, I don't know, I can't talk about that. Somebody's going to read that... and you understand don't you?

Actually I do. Is it a fear of somebody trying to do something that ... well, that maybe they're after you or your money?

CHAMP: Well that, you have to be careful of. But at the same time you have to give people a chance. But at the same time, you can't be stupid and naive about it. You have to know that you have a lot of money, and you have a lot of fame. And a lot of people want that. But not everybody wants it...so you can't just; you know, point your finger at somebody and just label them as that type of person

I can see this something that is a tough subject for someone in the public eye. So, what do you look for in the opposite sex?

CHAMP: Somebody that's very independent, with a strong mind, very smart. I want somebody that can take care of themselves, if I just happen to drop dead one day.

Someone like your mother?

CHAMP: Definitely, I think after she and my dad got divorced, she pretty much handled it. She was never sad, she never showed it to us. I'm pretty sure she was mad enough and upset, but she never showed it to us.

With so much success, attention, and hordes of fans; how do you stay grounded?

CHAMP: Well, uh, I really don't have a problem with that. I mean, I never try to flaunt everything that I have, you know , being too flashy or none of that. I'm a very soft-spoken person, so it's kinda like a natural thing. I don't really try to showboat or whatever.

Truth be told, Champ Bailey is one of the most soft-spoken people I've met, and it made the interview a little tougher on me than usual. I had to do some fishing for detail.

Speaking of flashy - with the arrival of some new team members and their unique sense of style, (Champ interjects - I new she was going to say that.) has your sense of style and/or fashion choices changed?

CHAMP: No, I don't know, I mean I'm pretty much the same. Nobody can really change me. I watch the way people do things but I just see if that's the type of person that I want to be like, and most of the time it's not. So, nothing really changes me like that.

Have you noticed anyone else on the team trying to emulate others off-field fashion choices?

CHAMP: Yeah, I've noticed stuff like that, I'm not naming any names but I've noticed that.

I can see we aren't going to go down that road. So, when going out on the town in DC , what plays a role in your choice of dress for the evening?

CHAMP: Oh, pretty much what I feel. I love wearing black so, Brett knows that, we always clash. But uh, its kinda just what I'm feeling like, you know, the mood I'm in, usually the same type clothes. I'm always in the same mood so it's all right.

Are you a slacks kinda guy or a suit and tie kinda guy?

CHAMP: More of a slacks guy, if I wear a suit and tie it has to be a very special occasion, when you wear a tie. 'Cause I just love T-shirts, slacks and whatever.

Do you have a favorite designer?

CHAMP: No, not really.

Champ, I've heard that you have taken an active role with a lot of charities in the area. What charities have you been active in and what are the reasons you've chosen those specific charities?.

CHAMP: When I came into the league, I really wasn't sure about what I wanted to do as far as charities. So I kinda just got with Darryl Green and Brian Mitchell. And did work with their charities. Working with what they did, and what they were interested in. They were very active in the community, being around here for a long time. So I just got with them a little bit, did stuff for them and their charities. And back home I did a literacy program for kids from 5yrs to teenagers. I bought a lot of books, spoke to them at a reading program over the summer, you know just kind of being there. Actually, I did that on my birthday. So I took out a lot of time.

Do you think you've made a change for the better in these young peoples' lives?

CHAMP: I think so, I mean, if somebody that played in the NFL came and talked to me when I was young and told me something that was important, yeah, I probably would've done it. So, I know that means a lot to them, being that I'm a NFL player. It just means that much more that they admire and listen to you.

Washington DC is such a culturally diverse and international city, how have your cosmopolitan city surroundings affected your views on life?

CHAMP: Well, boy! This is a crazy city! But, (laughing) I mean I've never seen so many different types of people. I'm from Georgia. It's slower, everyone'sÉ I'm from a small town, so everyone's pretty much either black or white. Maybe, It's two different things. So, I mean I had to get used to it. I've learned a lot about people, a lot about how to handle myself around people, it's a constant, daily type of learning experience. I think day by day, I learn a lot more about certain people and certain cultures. But, it's a constant process of learning.

Finally what are your plans for the future?

CHAMP: I really don't have an answer. I mean it's like, everything I said. ( laughing) That's not a tough question. I plan to be involved with the community, be successful with my team, just really stay in DC, and stay close with my own family.

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One reason to cut slimetime now is to have the Cap money in 2003 to extend Champ's contract. I'd prefer to do it now and maybe Alexander half way thru this season


Yes I'm paid to think and I need a raise

[edited.gif by NavyDave on June 13, 2001.]

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