DENVER –After watching from the sidelines for the first five weeks of the season, veteran cornerback Champ Bailey made his 2013 debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bailey completed his first practice of the 2013 regular season with full participation on Wednesday.
"It was a tough challenge," Bailey said of his first game back, a 35-19 win. "I'll tell you that. It definitely wasn't a cake walk. It was challenging but I'm glad I got one under my belt and I feel good going forward."
Late in the second quarter, Jacksonville's linebacker Paul Posluszny returned an interception for a touchdown to draw the Jaguars within two points of the Broncos.
But when the Jaguars attempted to tie the game before the half with a two-point conversion, Bailey jumped in front for an interception.
Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne was trying to hit Justin Blackmon in the back of the end zone but Bailey hauled it in and got both feet in bounds to secure the pick. Though he won that particular battle, Bailey credited Blackmon for putting up a strong fight during the game.
"He's going to be a good receiver for a long time," Bailey said. I really gave him props because he worked hard. He's on a team that is (0-6) and guys can get down but that shows how special he is. He kept working and kept grinding."
Bailey finished the day with a game-high three passes defensed and six total tackles – tied for the third most on the team.
But those numbers weren't the only impact he had on the game.
"It was fun to have Champ out there," Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. "When he's out there, you tend to get balls your way. That's a challenge I was looking for today."
Fellow cornerback Chris Harris Jr. added that playing with Bailey makes things easier because over the past two years they have developed strong communication skills – each knows what the other is thinking.
Head Coach John Fox thought that the defense also benefitted from Bailey's leadership on the field.
"I think our guys felt his leadership." Fox said. "When you're out there playing the game, you need a calming effect. Champ definitely gives that to our defense, especially with Wesley Woodyard not out there really for two weeks in a row. It was very exciting to have him back."
Bailey said that he felt like he was in good shape but has some things he wants to work on moving forward. As far as the pain in his foot, it's still there, it's just not too much for him to handle.
"Well my foot's not the only thing that's going to aggravate me," Bailey said. "That's just how this game is. You're never going to get over things completely but it's just something that I can deal with and it didn't affect me as far as my performance.
"That's why I feel good about it."