Broncos officially release Bailey

The Broncos announced their release of Champ Bailey on Thursday afternoon. Said John Elway in a statement:

This was a difficult decision for our team with everything that Champ Bailey has meant to the Denver Broncos and this community over the last 10 years. Without question, he’s among the best cornerbacks to ever play the game and one of the finest players in the history of the Broncos. You couldn’t ask for more in a player than what Champ brought to this team. His combination of elite talent, class, leadership and competitiveness made him one of the all-time greats.

On behalf of everyone with the Broncos, I wish Champ all the best and thank him for everything he did for this franchise. Champ will always be a Bronco. We look forward to his Ring of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame election in the years ahead.

John Fox spoke about the man he got to coach for three years in Denver:

I consider it a privilege to have coached Champ these last three years. I thank him and truly appreciate everything he did for our team. There’s no doubt he played an integral role in establishing a culture of winning here. Aside from his natural ability, Champ set a great example with his hard work and relentless commitment to mastering his craft.

Jack Reale, who represents Bailey, blames Champ's rough 2013 season on his lingering foot injury, rather than an overal decline in play:

It's unfortunate frankly that he tried to play hurt this year. Because most people with that injury would wind up on IR (injured reserve). But he felt this was a year they were going to go to the Super Bowl, and he was dadgum if he was going to watch that game from the press box or sidelines.

So he tried to get it done. And unfortunately everybody wants to judge him based on playing hurt. Which is how it goes in the league. Rarely, if ever do you get an 'attaboy' if you don't play as well hurt as you do when you're healthy.

Links

Obviously, several current Broncos offered their appreciation for having been Champ's teammate.

Jeff Legwold says Denver's decision was purely about football, and not impacted by financial concerns.

Klis expects the Broncos to put plenty into trying to re-sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Cecil Lammey agrees, but pegs DRC's asking price at a much more realistic $9M/year figure than the $6.5M-7M number Klis floated yesterday. Lammey floats Miami's Nolan Carroll, Tennessee's Alterraun Verner, Cleveland's T.J. Ward, and Green Bay's Sam Shields as possible free agent targets for the secondary.

Over at the official site, a video tribute to Champ, Andrew Mason reflects on his time in Denver, and Stuart Zaas shares notable numbers.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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