A budding star, the Detroit Lions had high hopes for athletic linebacker Boss Bailey last year. The team spent a second round pick on the former Georgia standout, and a rookie season in 2003 revealed an impressive 88 tackle, one interception campaign.
Unfortunately, a knee injury thwarted any chance of Bailey impressing upon his fast start.
The brother of Broncos' cornerback Champ, Boss spent the entire 2004 season on IR healing from surgery. And the Lions played musical chairs at outside linebacker -- never settling on a group that was expected to be compromised of, among other things, a ton of speed. That included Bailey, veteran Earl Holmes, and then-rookie Teddy Lehman.
On Sunday, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci's post-camp comments centered around the return of Bailey.
"We just want him back, because he brings so much athleticism to the position, and we missed him," said Mariucci, who watched his break-more-than-bend defense finish 22nd in the league a season ago. "Geez, we missed him last year, and he loves being back. And he would have preferred to play every practice, but we held him back in the afternoons. So we'll have another camp in June, but it'll only be one-a-day. He'll do everything, and then hopefully he'll be perfect for training camp."
Bailey was limited during this mini-camp, along with receiver Charles Rogers. Despite those limitations, he was able to get in moderate work during the three-day period.
"(He looked) Good," said Mariucci. "We just kept him at the same linebacker spot at which he started as a rookie, and then when we went to nickel he was one of the linebackers inside. He looked fast, he looked fresh, he didn't appear to be favoring the knee at all, and we need to keep it that way.
"We need to keep it fresh and healthy."
Mariucci said Bailey would play in the pre-season games, and likely a go for the season opener against Green Bay.
Boss is Back: Mariucci Excited About Return of LB
Lions Report Top Stories
Week 7: Four Busted BackfieldsEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making.
Rams falter late against LionsDespite some offensive fireworks, Los Angeles dropped their second straight game.
LA Rams Report10/17/2016
Rams vs. Lions HighlightsIt was an epic day for Rams quarterback Case Keenum, but the Rams fell short against the Lions.
LA Rams Report10/16/2016
Golden Tate cheerleads with pom-poms after TDDetroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate dances with Lions cheerleaders following his TD against the Rams. Detroit beat the Rams, 31-28.
Big Day for Big Play SlayThe Detroit Lions needed someone to step up on defense during a critical stretch in a critical game. There to answer the call was cornerback Darius Slay, who is budding into a…