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Champ Bailey inducted into Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

By: ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
April 27, 2017 Updated: April 27, 2017 at 9:45 pm
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FILE - Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey before Denver's 38-35 loss Sunday, January 12, 2013 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette)

ENGLEWOOD — While the Denver Broncos were peeking into their future Thursday night with the NFL draft, stars from past and present were being honored at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet.

Champ Bailey headlined the hall's 2017 class and Von Miller was honored as the top male athlete in Colorado.

"Every time he lined him up against the No. 1 receiver, he did his job," Miller said of Bailey, who retired after making his lone Super Bowl appearance following the 2013 season. "I just remember him being consistent. ... It was great. I hate that we couldn't win him a Super Bowl on the way out."

Bailey was a 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback and eight-time AP All-Pro who spent 10 seasons of his 15-year career in Denver. He intercepted 34 passes during that decade.

"It's unbelievable how fast these things come up. I feel like I was just on the field. Here I am tonight. It's an honor," Bailey said.

Miller followed a Super Bowl 50 MVP award with a career-best 78 tackles and 13 1-2 sacks last season while earning his fifth All-Pro honor.

Ahead of his induction ceremony Thursday, Bailey visited the Broncos headquarters, where he's still revered.

"Champ was an unbelievable mentor for me," All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "Just a good friend. That's one thing, you don't see a lot of the older guys like him becoming friends with the younger cats."

Harris said this award was "just one of many awards that he's going to get. I'm pretty sure he'll get every award that you can possibly have. The Hall of Fame is probably next, then the Ring of Fame."

Bailey is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

Miller said being named Colorado's top male athlete "just shows you the type of work we put in at Dove Valley and the type of organization I'm a part of ... It's a great award and we've got to keep pushing to see if we can get the bigger award — Super Bowl 52."

That wouldn't surprise Bailey, who said, "One thing about this organization, they've always been in the thick of it. That's what I love about them."

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