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Ohio Steeler 05-06-2006 09:15 AM

For Bailey there is no place like home
 
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

For Rodney Bailey, there is no place like home. And despite the fact that Cleveland, Ohio is where he was born, signing with the Steelers this off-season was the perfect homecoming for him.

"Coming back here is coming back home," said Bailey. "It's a very close group. That has been evident for a bunch of years while I was here and coming back it hasn't changed at all."

Bailey was originally drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round in 2001 out of Ohio State. The defensive end was with the team for three seasons, playing in every game while with the black and gold in a reserve role. But he wanted more.

So, when Bailey became an unrestricted free agent, he tested the waters and signed with the New England Patriots. During training camp with the Patriots though, he suffered an Achilles tendon injury and was placed on injured reserve. He was waived by the Patriots the following preseason.

Bailey was then signed by the Seattle Seahawks near the start of last season and played in eight games. He was on the roster when the Seahawks took on the Steelers in Super Bowl XL, but was inactive for the game.

It might have been seeing some of his old teammates that made him want to come back. Maybe it was all of those Terrible Towels that dominated Ford Field. Maybe it was knowing what he was missing. And maybe, it was all of the above and more. But when Bailey became a free agent this off-season, he switched agents and knew what it was he wanted to do.

"Everywhere else in the NFL is very different compared to here in Pittsburgh," said Bailey. "Things happen through negotiations and stuff and this is one place I never wanted to leave. I had an opportunity and I jumped right on it to come back."

Coming back to a team that just won the Super Bowl can be a bit of a challenge. New players can change the chemistry, can change the atmosphere. But that was never a concern for Bailey and for good reason.

"There is a different kind of camaraderie among players on the Pittsburgh Steelers that is very unique," said Bailey. "It's from the older players, to the younger players and the new free agents coming in. It's a place where you are definitely welcomed with open arms."

There is also the consistency of the coaching staff that was an attraction for him. Defensive line coach John Mitchell coached him on his first stint in Pittsburgh and he remains in the same position. That, combined with the stability of head coach Bill Cowher, was the perfect combination.

"We have great chemistry here between the coaches and the players. That is very consistent year in and year out," said Bailey. "The time that Coach Cowher has spent in Pittsburgh is unique and so is the way that he deals with us as players individually and collectively. He really takes time with each guy and gets a chance to understand each guy's situation no matter how different or similar they are."

Bailey is taking part in off-season workouts at the Steelers practice facility, including boxing classes and speed school. He is looking forward to the next step, though.

"I know mini-camp is right around the corner and I think everybody is really excited," said Bailey. "I can't wait to get right back at it.

"Every guy on the team that was here during the Super Bowl win feels great about the team winning it, which they should. They are not overwhelmed by it though. They are excited to get back to work, excited to keep pushing on and going forward."

Another thing Bailey is looking forward to is returning to training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. While many look at camp as a necessary evil, Bailey has a new perspective on it.

"I have been in a few different places, but I am looking forward to getting back to Latrobe," he said. "In retrospect, since I have been gone a few years, I realize it was a very special time. I know it's going to be very hot, but it's going to be a great atmosphere."

And part of that atmosphere will come from the thousands of Steelers fans who will descend on Latrobe. Bailey has missed that kind of fan support and loyalty, something he had at Ohio State and in his first stint in Pittsburgh.

"They are the most charismatic, loyal, diehard fans," said Bailey of the Steelers faithful. "No matter what kind of season you have, they are going to be there. It's a legacy for a lot of families to be Steelers fans. There is generation after generation of Steelers fans all around the country and that is very special.

"Just being around the city since I am back it reminds me again of Ohio State. Those fans are very similar because of the whole team aspect. They know if you play for the Steelers you are a part of the whole team, the whole family."

And as with any family, you are always welcome to come back home.

BlackNGold203 05-06-2006 10:29 AM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
Great read.....

Welcome back Rodney!

Midnightwriter07 05-06-2006 11:08 AM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
nice nice

tony hipchest 05-06-2006 11:28 AM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
ive always liked bailey. it will be a shame if he cant make the team.

"The defensive line will be made up of Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Chris Hoke, Shaun Nua, Travis Kirschke and either Rodney Bailey or No. 4b pick Orien Harris. "

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_449154.html

Midnightwriter07 05-06-2006 11:44 AM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
Shaun Nua, Travis Kirschke and either Rodney Bailey or No. 4b pick Orien Harris. "

Will be interesting this year... to see if we will keep 4 RB's each game.. 3 Qb's each game and how many safeties we wil keep. We do have alot of talent to choose from and just not enough room for everyone. last year we deactivated people for games so will see if do the same again this year and try to keep some of these guys around.

Haiku_Dirtt 05-06-2006 02:11 PM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightwriter07
Shaun Nua, Travis Kirschke and either Rodney Bailey or No. 4b pick Orien Harris. "

Will be interesting this year... to see if we will keep 4 RB's each game.. 3 Qb's each game and how many safeties we wil keep. We do have alot of talent to choose from and just not enough room for everyone. last year we deactivated people for games so will see if do the same again this year and try to keep some of these guys around.


Unless Ben goes into the game already badly banged up I would be reluctant to see 3 QB's. In extreme circumstances Hines Ward could go in as No.3. I'd feel better having an extra lineman or special teamer rather than a clipboard holder.

As for the RB's...alot more tenative there. I doubt we will have 4 who are able to play. Pray for Duce's knees to hold up.

Black@Gold Forever32 05-06-2006 02:14 PM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
Throw Lee Vickers in the Dline mix as well. Dline and reciever will have some interesting battles this year at camp and preseason.

Midnightwriter07 05-06-2006 02:38 PM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
right now there are only 4 i believe in Parker, Staley, Haynes, and Humes ... so i would think that 4 will be making it considerin that Humes and haynes would play on special teams most of the year. we didnt pick anyone else up and didnt have any others come in on undrafted list. So unless we do pick up someone else.... i think all 4 would make the team and i too would rather see an extra DL, OL RB or whomever than a clipboard holder who really does nothing but take up space a spot. That or else jabobs should be forced to learn how to play WR or Safety or something other than holding a clipboard.. I hate that shit.

Ambridge 05-06-2006 07:42 PM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
The way QB's can drop like flies it would be the smart move to have three on the final roster/practice squad.

Stlrs4Life 05-06-2006 08:17 PM

Re: For Bailey there is no place like home
 
A nice read. Kinda upset with him that he went for the money in the first place. But, guess he can be forgiven.


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