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Bailey: 'This is Why I Still Play'

Posted Nov 1, 2012

Cornerback Champ Bailey is looking forward to the challenge of covering one of the league's top receivers.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is the type of player that attracts the attention of the entire defense, and still, is rarely contained.

In his second year in the league, the former Georgia Bulldog has caught at least one touchdown in each of the last six games - the only player in the league with such a streak.

Looking to end that run on Sunday is cornerback Champ Bailey, also a former top-10 pick from Georgia. The 11-time Pro Bowler has grown accustomed to taking on the opponent's No. 1 receiver, and he can't wait to match up with a player he believes is "emerging to be the best."

"Story of my life for the past 14 years," Bailey said. "I love it."

Bailey will surely see plenty of action when he is assigned to guard No. 18 on the Bengals. Green's seven touchdown catches, tied for the most in the league, are as many as the rest of the team has combined. His team-leading 44 receptions for 636 yards are well ahead of the next man in those categories.

"Everybody knows how good A.J. is," Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton said. "Teams do know where he is. They double him. We still have to find ways to get him the ball."

Green is a proven playmaker when the ball is in the air, so Dalton is more willing to take a chance when he looks that way. The quarterback said Green has "another gear" once the ball goes up, and as a result, Dalton's confidence in the receiver is sky-high.

"A lot of the time he's out there making plays even when he is covered," Dalton said. "You've got to know when you can take your chances, but a lot of the time he's coming down with those."

Bailey sees the exact same threat when he sizes up Green, who reached the trifecta of 100 receptions, 1500 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns faster than any player in NFL history.

"I think that his biggest strength is ball skills," Bailey said. "You see a lot of guys that see the ball go up and they don't know how to go get it. He's probably the best in the game at going to get it."

Bailey added that Green's size, at 6-foot-4, makes him even more dangerous.

Broncos Head Coach John Fox also acknowledged the receiver's abilities, saying that he's "not sure there's a better receiver (in the league)".

Cincinnati has similar feelings about Bailey.

Asked about the challenges of the Denver defense, Dalton was quick to mention No. 24 on the Broncos.

"You have Champ on the outside," Dalton said. "He has been playing really well for a long time. Going to 11 Pro Bowls in 14 years -- that shows you what kind of player he is. We have to be on our game. We have to execute."

Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis had the opportunity to coach Bailey in 2002 as the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins, and experience he spoke highly of. Lewis puts him "right up there with (Hall of Fame cornerback) Rod Woodson."

"I love Champ, how he plays and what he does," Lewisadded. "He's still doing it. I remember being on Georgia's campus when Champ came out. It's fun to see him still doing it the way he's doing it."

When the Bengals and Broncos last met -- in Week 2 of 2011 -- Green "gave (Denver) fits," Fox said, catching 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

But on Sunday, Bailey will be playing. He missed last year's game with an injury.

"I welcome these challenges," Bailey said. "This is why I still play."

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