Denver Broncos | News

Bailey: 'Time to Go to Work'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just because Champ Bailey has returned to full participation in practice does not mean that the pain in his foot has abated.

"Well, I've said before: I don't think that pain is ever going to go away," he said, reiterating a sentiment he shared after he began practicing on a limited basis on Sept. 19. "It's just how much can I tolerate. And it's pretty tolerable right now.

"They (doctors) kind of gave me a time frame on when they thought I'd be ready, but it's really based on how much I can tolerate," Bailey added later. "This is the best I've felt in a long time."

Bailey had been limited in his practice work the last few weeks while recovering a midfoot injury that was a sprain, but not as severe as Ryan Clady's Lisfranc injury, which involved a tear of a joint in his left foot.

Wednesday, Bailey intercepted a pass in his first full practice of the season, according to safety Duke Ihenacho. But even with that and a pair of full practices completed, the 15-year veteran was not ready to proclaim that he would definitely play Sunday against the Jaguars.

"Well, I'm progressing towards that. That's the plan. I've kind of been planning on that for a few weeks, but this is the week I feel like I'm ready to go out there and do it," Bailey said.

His return could be timely if a concussion suffered last Sunday sidelines cornerback Chris Harris, who was limited in practice Thursday.

"(Bailey) will do his job, his part," said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. "Having him back at some point -- and Coach Fox will make that determination, Champ and Coach will let me know when I get him -- but I look forward to getting him back. Hopefully, it's this week. If it is, we expect him to come out there and help us play good defense."

Exacerbating matters is the fact that the Jaguars are at full strength at wide receiver after losing Justin Blackmon to a four-game suspension to open the regular season. The combination of Blackmon and Cecil Shorts last Sunday in St. Louis provided one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal campaign to date; they combined for 210 of the Jaguars' 363 yards in a 34-20 loss.

In that game, Jacksonville averaged 11.1 yards per play when its quarterbacks targeted Shorts or Blackmon, and 3.8 yards on all other snaps not directed toward one of their two top receivers.

"We've got our hands full at the skill positions," said Bailey. "We've just got to make sure that we cover these guys -- whether it's one second or 10, it doesn't matter, we've just got to make sure we handle them."

And the signs look promising for Bailey being a part of containing the Jaguars.

"It's been a long time coming, it seems like," Bailey said. "Been on a long vacation. It's time to go to work."