OXNARD, Calif. -- As the Los Angeles Rams went through their second organized team activity Wednesday, they were joined by a familiar face, albeit not in his normal role.
Wide receiver Stedman Bailey, who suffered two gunshot wounds to the head in November, is back with his teammates as he continues to recover from the injuries. Bailey spent the practice helping the wide receiver group in a sort of de facto coaching role and seemed to be in good spirits, bouncing from drill to drill and offering tips to the team's many young wideouts.
That Bailey is back on the field in any capacity is something of a miracle after he was the victim of a shooting in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Nov. 24.
But Bailey has not yet been cleared to return to playing football. It's likely the 25-year-old won't be cleared to come back in time for the 2016 season, and it remains to be seen if he'll ever get the chance to return to the game he loves.
“It’s been great to have him," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He’s been in the meetings, been helping out. We’ll have some more information here shortly, I’m sure.”
In other words, the Rams will probably make a decision on Bailey's status, at least in the short term, at some point in the near future. He finished last season on the non-football injury list, but he currently counts on the team's 90-man roster.
It's possible the Rams could make a similar move to place Bailey back on the NFI list while he continues to seek multiple opinions from doctors on whether he can return to football. That would allow Bailey the opportunity to continue to be around the team while also opening a roster spot for someone who can contribute on the field.
Fisher said in March that Bailey would seek many opinions from doctors and neurologists not only on whether he can play football but also if he could handle the type of rigorous workout regimen that would put him in position to return to the field.
"He’s going through that evaluation process," Fisher said then. "As you can imagine, we don’t think there’s any history out there [for the likes of coming back] after the head wounds and all that."
Bailey has been working out for most of the offseason, occasionally taking to social media to update his status. He spent some of that time working out in St. Louis before the team moved and posted video of himself running routes in the Los Angeles area in April.
Bailey has repeatedly made it clear that he hopes to return to playing in the NFL despite doctors telling him otherwise. For now, returning to his team, even in a different capacity, will have to do.