Getting Crazy with ... Lions DB Robert Bailey
By Marc Connolly
ABC Sports Online

Every week throughout the 2001 NFL season, ABC Sports Online senior writer Marc Connolly interviews one player from that week's upcoming Monday Night Football game on a variety of topics. In Week 4, Connolly caught up with talkative Detroit Lions cornerback Robert "Beetle" Bailey, an 11-year NFL veteran who has won Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys and last year with Baltimore. They spoke on Thursday afternoon as the Lions prepare for their matchup against the high-flying St. Louis Rams on Monday night (ABC, 9 p.m. ET). Here's what transpired:

Robert Bailey
Robert "Beetle" Bailey, left, has one interception this season.
Connolly: Your Miami Hurricanes are No. 1 in the country right now. I'll give you some space right here to talk smack, since I know that's what Miami players love to do.

Bailey: The Hurricanes are number one. The Hurricanes will always be number one. Florida State got knocked off. Even though they're number two and undefeated, Florida is nowhere to be found, and they would not beat the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will always be number one because it is a tradition and in the Gods. It will always be that way.

Connolly: How close are you with all the former Hurricane players?

Bailey: I'm close with every single person who played at Miami. Everybody is close, because that's the type of team we are and the way the school is. It doesn't even matter if I played with them or not. We respect each other and always greet each other on and off the field every time.

Connolly: Who are some of your favorite 'Canes?

Bailey: Warren Sapp, Ryan McNeil, some of the older guys like Michael Irvin and Brett Perriman. Let's see -- the Blades brothers -- or some of the younger guys playing now like Ray Lewis. We're all still good friends. On the field, we always speak.

Connolly: What would be your all-time defense for the Hurricanes using players from all eras?

Bailey: I'd go with Sapp and Russell Maryland at the defensive tackles. The linebackers are pretty easy -- Ray Lewis, Michael Barrow and Jesse Armstead. My corners would definitely have to be myself and Ryan McNeil. My strong safety would have to be Bennie Blades and my free safety Darryl Williams.

Connolly: Your nickname, "Beetle," is that strictly from the comic?

Bailey: It's from Chris Berman. He gave me that name when I got my first interception off of Jerry Rice and I scored. He called me "Beetle" Bailey. I thought it was pretty comical, but I didn't think it would stick. It ended up sticking, as my defensive coach at the time ended up calling me that. Same with my secondary coach. Now everyone in the league knows me as that. I'm probably one of the only guys who got a name from him that stuck. People don't even know my first name now. They only call me "Beetle."

Connolly: You once appeared in The Young and the Restless. Did you get a lot of ribbing from the guys over that?

Bailey: All the time. All the soap-opera heads came out of the closet and kind of would talk to me on the side. All the tough guys who don't want anyone to know they watch. "I love the soaps, but don't tell anybody," they'd say.

Connolly: You have to rat a few of them out now.

Bailey: Todd Lyght watches soap operas. Corey Harris does. Definitely some big-time guys I'm not remembering. Lots of guys watch but just would never ever say anything.

Connolly: You're a James Bond guy. What's your favorite?

Bailey: I would say it is Goldfinger.

Connolly: Is the best Bond girl now Denise Richards instead of someone like Ursula Andress?

Bailey: Most definitely. You knew it wouldn't be Ursula, because Denise is more from my time.

Connolly: We're both big Scarface fans. What's your favorite Tony Montana quote?

Bailey: Of course. "When you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women." Everyone who loves that movie knows that line. Connolly: You've played with Deion Sanders, Darrell Green and Rod Woodson. Those are three of the best corners of all time. What was it like sharing the field with them?

Bailey: Let me tell you something, I've learned so much from those guys, and they are all consummate professionals. A lot of people have the TV characters in mind from watching them, but off the field or in the meeting room, all three are the same. All three try to help you get better, and egos never come into play. They help you with techniques. That's what makes them great, great players. They try to help those around them get better for the team's sake.

Connolly: Do you have a favorite Barry Sanders story?

Bailey: My favorite one was this one time in training camp. It was pretty hot and we were all working pretty hard. Barry walked up to the coach and said, "It's been a long, long practice and the guys are tired." Needless to say, the coach stopped practice right then and there. They listened to everything he said. He was one of the few guys on the team who when he said something, the coaches stopped everything and listened.

Connolly: Have you ever seen practice stopped on other teams because their star player or captain requested it?

Bailey: Nope. I've only seen it with Barry.

Connolly: You still have the NFL record for the longest punt return for a touchdown. (On Oct. 23, 1994 vs. New Orleans, he picked up a punt that had yet to be ruled dead, and he rambled 103 yards for the score while the remaining players left the field.) Will that record ever be broken?

Bailey: That record will last forever.

Connolly: If, by chance, you ever see the same type of scenario when the ball is laying near the back of the end zone off a punt and someone picks it up and starts running, will you root for him to be tackled?

Bailey: I'm not only going to root for him to be tackled, but if I'm on the other side I'm going to run off the sideline and tackle him myself. You know what I mean? It's not going to happen.

Connolly: Hey, not everyone has an NFL record that will probably stand for the ages.

Bailey: Oh yeah, and it was great to see that in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Marc Connolly can be reached at Marc.Connolly@abc.com.

 
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