Bailey not motivated by doubters, just wins

AVONDALE, La. -- Champ Bailey met with the New Orleans media for the first time on Tuesday. Naturally, one of the first questions for the Saints' new 35-year-old cornerback was how much football he has left in him.

“We'll see,” Bailey said. “I still got some now. That's all I'm worried about right now. I'm not looking beyond that.”

Bailey, who spoke before teeing off in a celebrity golf shootout as part of New Orleans' Zurich Classic PGA tournament, hasn't had to deal much with those types of questions throughout his stellar career.

The former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins standout is a 12-time Pro Bowler and a future Hall of Famer. But for now, the jury is still out on how much he has left in the tank.

“Well, that comes with the business,” Bailey said. “People are always gonna doubt you. You have one hiccup, and you know, you're just not the same. My thing is just to go out there and play the best I can.

“I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody but myself and my teammates. That's all I've got to do.”

Bailey struggled last season with the Broncos, largely due to a foot injury that sidelined him for 11 games.

He was then released by Denver after the season. And though the Saints showed interest in him early, he went unsigned for a month before the Saints inked him to an incentive-laden two-year deal that included only $500,000 in guaranteed money.

The Saints obviously feel like Bailey still has something left. They added him despite releasing several of their own aging players at other positions this offseason.

Bailey will compete for the No. 2 cornerback job opposite Keenan Lewis. He'll compete against younger corners Corey White and Patrick Robinson, among others.

“My thing is to find my place on this team and my role and just play to the best of my ability,” Bailey said.

Bailey mentioned more than once that the goal in New Orleans is to win a championship. He said the Saints' ability to do that was one of the main attractions for him.

When asked Tuesday if there was any one deciding factor -- be it head coach Sean Payton or defensive coordinator Rob Ryan -- Bailey pointed to quarterback Drew Brees above all others.

“Well, those are definitely some big factors,” Bailey said of Payton and Ryan. “I mean, you want a good head coach (with) a good track record. And Rob Ryan, we know what he's done in this league for defenses. But, you know, when I look around the league in my experience, you've got to have a good quarterback. And Drew Brees was a big part in that.

“You're not gonna win that many games without a good quarterback and a good pass rush. Those two things together, plus the good coaches, it makes for a good team.”

Bailey, who turns 36 in June, said he doesn't plan to alter his training regimen much this year from recent years. But he said that he did change up his routine a few years ago to better pace himself because of age and injuries.

“I can't get out and run 365 days a year. That's just not smart,” Bailey said. “So it's just trying to prepare smarter and do things the right way so I can play a lot longer.”