Bailey and McClendon follw in fathers' footsteps

ATHENS - Georgia's starting receivers have more than that in common.

Sean Bailey and Bryan McClendon are very similar. Both have two career starts, their career stats are nearly identical (20 receptions, 290 yards for Bailey - 21 receptions, 301 yards for McClendon), both are penciled in as the starting wide receivers this fall and both have fathers who played in the NFL.

Sean is the son of former Atlanta Falcon Stacey Bailey. A junior from Alpharetta, Sean was fourth on the team last season with three touchdown receptions. His father, Stacey played 9 seasons in the NFL. He was with the Falcons from 1982 through 1990 where he had 18 career touchdown receptions (including a team-high six in both in 1983 and 1984).

"I vaguely remember him playing in the NFL; I was too young," says Sean. One thing he does remember is going to tailgate parties held by ex-players at the Falcons home games. "I remember talking with Deion Sanders a lot; I even went to his daughter's birthday parties."

Stacey's best season was in 1984, when he finished with 1,138 receiving yards, good for tenth best in the NFL. Stacey had five different head coaches during his time with the Falcons, and had a wide array of quarterbacks from Steve Bartkowski at the start of his career to Chris Miller at the end of it.

Bryan is the son of Willie McClendon. A senior from Atlanta, Bryan played in all 12 games last season as wide receiver and also contributed as Georgia's kickoff returner. Around Athens, Willie may be known more for his days as a Georgia Bulldog player and coach, but the 1978 SEC Player of the Year also played four seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1979 to 1982.

As a member of the Bears, Willie served as the team's back-up running back behind Hall of Famer Walter Payton. In 57 career games, Willie scored two career touchdowns. Walter fared a little better, scoring 110 touchdowns in his career.

"One cool thing was Walter Payton would come to our house," Bryan said. "My older brother Brandon was good friends with his son, Jarrett."

In Willie's final season in Chicago, the team started to take the shape of the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears that dominated the NFL in 1985. Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Steve McMichael were led by Mike Ditka as McClendon ended his professional days.

Growing up with an NFL father had another advantage. Both Stacey Bailey and Willie McClendon spoke at their sons' schools at career days and assemblies. "All the kids were envious of me!" exclaimed Sean. Bryan added: "My dad would talk at my school all throughout my childhood"

Both Sean and Bryan have the opportunity in 2005 to take control, and who knows? If they have great seasons, they could both be following their fathers' footsteps in the NFL.


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