Stedman Bailey’s NFL career should be far from over. He suffered a huge blow after being shot last season, but he won’t give up his dream to get back on the field.
After going through such a traumatic moment, Bailey never backed down. He handled his rehabilitation and treatment like the true professional he remains to be. Bailey went through something nobody ever should experience. He has used it all as motivation to get back onto the football field.
He’s confident that day will soon come again. He knows, deep down in his heart, that he can play for a professional football team again.
Truthfully, Bailey is lucky he is alive, let alone walking again. However, he has gone above and beyond the expectations and had a solid shot at playing football again, sooner rather than later.
For now, he is pressing the pause button, but still staying close to the game he loves. Bailey was recently invited back to West Virginia to join WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff. Bailey will be a student assistant in the 2016 season.
Bailey was not going to play football in 2016 as he was still recovering from his injuries. Instead of playing for the St. Louis (now, Los Angeles) Rams, the team that drafted him in 2012, he was going to stay near the team and head coach Jeff Fisher and a special assistant.
In recent months, he was able to gain a special vantage point for how a NFL team is run. He was on a solid track that other current players really do not get to take advantage of. Fisher took Bailey under his wing and helped prepare him for the next chapter in his life.
Holgorsen is taking that all one step further by giving Bailey an opportunity to return to his old stomping grounds and help out with the Mountaineers, a team he still loves dearly.
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Before Bailey was shot in the head last November, he was a rising star in the NFL. Before Bailey was a rising star in the NFL, he was one of the best college receivers of the past decade.
Playing with West Virginia from 2010-2013, he taotaled 3,218 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. Bailey was part of West Virginia’s transition into the Big 12 Conference and he was an integral aspect of the Mountaineers’ historic Orange Bowl victory over Clemson.
Now, he gets a chance to mentor current Mountaineers who hope to one day follow in his footsteps.
Even before this new position, Bailey was a major selling point to future Mountaineers. The offensive firepower that he possessed, along with teammates like Geno Smith and Tavon Austin, attracts a new generation of potential West Virginia football players. Today’s high school students do not really know of Major Harris and their memories of Pat White from just under 10 years ago may be foggy, too.
Bailey is, and always will be, remembered for a new age of WVU football. For at least the next year, as Bailey enrolls as a full-time student to complete his degree, he will help out the Mountaineers in many ways.
He will benefit from this in his playing career, which really could continue as early as 2017, and his coaching career that could also begin sometime soon.