DENVER — Champ Bailey is retiring after a 15-year NFL career that included a dozen Pro Bowl selections, more than any cornerback in history.
Bailey's agent, Jack Reale, said from Atlanta that Bailey was still drawing interest from teams wanting him to play this season but he decided to pursue other opportunities.
"I think he's timed it just about right after a lot of thought," Reale said. "Contrary to what's been written by some, he did and does have some other options to continue playing. But there are other opportunities that have been under discussion really since before the season started. I think it's a really sound decision on his part."
It's a safe bet Bailey will end up talking football now that he's done playing it.
"Media makes a lot of sense for a guy like him," Reale said.
Bailey, 36, spent his first five years with Washington and his last 10 in Denver after the Broncos traded running back Clinton Portis to the Redskins for the game's premiere shutdown cornerback.
Bailey was the most decorated defender in franchise history with eight Pro Bowl berths while with the Broncos.
"Blessed to be able to learn and play opposite Champ for 3 years," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., tweeted, adding the hashtags HOF and TBE for the surefire Hall of Famer.
The Broncos tweeted their congratulations and were in the process of gathering reaction from general manager John Elway and others Tuesday, the players' day off.
Although quarterbacks usually avoided throwing in his direction, Bailey still found a way to get involved and make an impact. He had 52 interceptions, more than any active cornerback. He prided himself on his technique and tackling abilities. In 215 regular season games, Bailey had 983 tackles, three sacks, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
His best statistical season was 2006, when he had a career-high 10 interceptions.
About the only thing that eluded Bailey in his stellar career was a Super Bowl ring.
The closest he came was the Broncos' trip to the Meadowlands in February when they were blown out by Seattle.
With a $10 million salary looming for this season, the Broncos released him in March after Bailey decided he wanted to give a 16th season a try.
He later signed with the New Orleans Saints, but the left foot injury that sidelined him for 11 games last season continued to bother him during training camp and for the first time in his life he didn't make the cut.
He had workouts with the Detroit Lions last month and the Baltimore Ravens this month before deciding that he'd laced up his cleats for the last time.
His last NFL season was a bittersweet one.
He missed most of the year because of the foot he originally sprained in a preseason game in Seattle. Only later did he reveal it was a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves a separation of ligaments and joints in the foot and requires a lengthy rehab with no guarantee of recovery.
Realizing the team's potential, Bailey refused to consider going on injured reserve and he returned to action down the stretch and finally got to experience a Super Bowl, which proved both the apex and nadir of his career.
"He had a significant part to do with them getting there based on his play in the AFC championship, where he gave up one pass for 4 yards on one foot," Reale said. "He has a tremendous amount to be proud of and really tried to get it done last year when lesser players wouldn't have even tried."