Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bailey returns to FedEx Field

On Sunday, Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey will return to FedEx Field for the first time since the 2004 trade that sent him from the Washington Redskins to Denver in exchange for running back Clinton Portis and a second-round draft pick, with which the Broncos selected running back Tatum Bell.

In the six seasons since, Portis has become the second-leading rusher in Redskins history and made the Pro Bowl following the 2008 season. But Bailey has been to four Pro Bowls -- added to the four he made in his five seasons with the Redskins -- and was three times a first-team All-Pro selection.

So with Bailey returning, it's just another opportunity to ask: Who got the better of the deal?

"You tell me," Bailey said Wednesday in a conference call with Washington reporters. "I'll let you guys evaluate that. Honestly, I think they got what they wanted, and the Broncos got what they wanted. We both still playing at a high level."

Bailey, whose Broncos are 6-2, said he doesn't quite know what to expect Sunday.

"It's been six years," Bailey said. "Honestly, it hasn't really set in that I'm going back there. I had the opportunity to play against them when they came here [in 2005], but I didn't get to play because I was hurt. It will be a little different to come out of the visitors' locker room."

Portis, who ran for 103 yards on 21 carries in his 2005 return to Denver, is likely to miss Sunday's game with a concussion, so there probably won't be a direct comparison. But Bailey, who has just two interceptions in the past two seasons, took some time to reflect on his time with the Redskins and compare them with the Broncos.

"I think you kind of know what to expect every day," Bailey said of Denver. "That's the good thing. When I left there, it was a swinging door. When I got here, it wasn't like that."

There are, too, some differences in the fan base, Bailey said.

"I'm not going to lie," Bailey said. "Everywhere I go outside of Denver, the only thing I get: 'I wish you were still with the Redskins. I'm a Redskins fan.' That's all I get, everywhere I go. Any city, other than Denver, that's all I get. Even in this city. There's Redskins fans everywhere."

Redskins meet veterans

After Wednesday's practice, many of the Redskins headed to a tent alongside one of the practice field that shielded a group of veterans from a persistent drizzle. The group -- which included Jason Campbell, Albert Haynesworth, London Fletcher, Andre Carter, Fred Smoot, Brian Orakpo, Santana Moss, Malcolm Kelly and many others -- spent part of Veterans Day talking to and signing autographs for the men and women from the District's Southeast Veterans Service Center.

"We get a misunderstanding," Carter said. "People in this game, they claim that we're soldiers. No. This is a whole different ballgame. We're fighting to win. Those are the men that fight to live, to live or die. The level of camaraderie that they had and the stories that you hear are very inspirational."

The two dozen veterans on hand included men and women from different armed services, as well as some who participated in different wars. Willie Young, who served in the Army in Vietnam, celebrated his 59th birthday by watching Redskins practice.

"The chance to meet the team, meet my team, it's the best birthday present I could have," Young said. "It's amazing. I never thought this day would come."

Fines for scuffle

Haynesworth and safety LaRon Landry both say they've been fined by the league for their roles in a sideline skirmish Sunday in Atlanta. Neither Haynesworth nor Landry knew the exact amount of the fines, and Landry said he didn't open the envelope.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is reportedly facing a fine as well.

-- Barry Svrluga and Rick Maese

© 2009 The Washington Post Company