Q & A With Former Patriot Lineman

Some players have a tough time during their NFL careers due to injury and the impact it has on their chances to stick to a roster. Former Patriot defensive lineman Rodney Bailey who sat out the 2004 season knows this difficulty firsthand. After leaving New England, Bailey spent one season in Seattle before returning to Pittsburgh for a second chance. Get inside for this exclusive interview.

When Rodney Bailey started his NFL career with the Steelers in 2001, he had long hair and a twinkle in his eyes. But he left after the 2003 season, fought through two injury plagued seasons with two teams, and is back, minus the hair and twinkle. Bailey's now a hungry 27-year-old looking for a job.

Rodney Bailey, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (5-30-2006)

Q: How’s the comeback bid coming?

RB: Well I feel great. It’s just good to be here at minicamp and coaching sessions right now to get a chance to go over the defense and keep working at it.

Q: You know the defense and some important people from your last tour with the Steelers, do you still find yourself scratching and clawing to make a roster spot?

RB: I’ve learned to take it one day at a time, work on everything you have to work on for that day, whether it’s hands, feet, run defense or nickel and dime packages. You just take it one step at a time and keep working.

Q: How did you feel playing in other defenses the last few years?

RB: It’s a very unique defense here. It’s coached very well and the most important thing is to just take time to understand where you are as a group. There are a lot of new faces around here. I’m a new face. You just work accordingly. It’s always great to work with new guys.

Q: Did you play against the Steelers while you were with Seattle and New England?

RB: When I was with New England I was injured. When I was with Seattle for the Super Bowl I was inactive. I’ve never played against the Steelers. When you’re not playing, you’re not involved with anything that’s going on.

Q: Didn’t you have a serious injury in New England?

RB: Yes. I tore my left Achilles in 2004. I was pass rushing and it just went. It was an unfortunate situation but rehab was great and I’m feeling great.

Q: Did you lose a step?

RB: I don’t know. Time will tell. Give me a chance to get the pads on, get in some games and we’ll see.

Q: Someone told me you’re playing very well this spring and will help this team. Do you feel comfortable and do you feel you’ve come full circle and are back home where you belong?

RB: I definitely feel I’m where I belong. It was an unfortunate situation. I never wanted to leave here in the first place. I’m just looking forward and I’m very, very excited about this upcoming camp this year.

Q: When you first came back who welcomed you first?

RB: Brett Keisel and Lee Mays were the first guys I saw when I came over in March. It was great to see them. This is a very, very familiar area. I love this area. I just have to make the most of it.

Q: It’s not like going off to Seattle where you didn’t know anyone, is it?

RB: If you do, in the NFL, play for other organizations, everywhere’s different. It’s just that I’m definitely very appreciative of the opportunity that’s been afforded to me.

 

Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by defensive end Rodney Bailey #95 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of the 49ers' game against the Seahawks on December 11, 2005 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Jim Wexell reports for SteelCityInsider.com the Pittsburgh Steelers affiliate on the Scout.com network.

NOTE: Bailey was acquired by the Patriots when they signed the Pittsburgh restricted free to an offer sheet that the Steelers declined to match in 2004. He spent the entire 2004 season on injured reserve due to his leg injury. The former Ohio State DL then returned for the Patriots' 2005 training camp to compete for a roster spot with Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright and others. Bailey was released just prior to the beginning of the season and was subsequently signed by the Seattle Seahawks for the 2005 season. In Seattle he became a part-time contributor managing 12 tackles and one forced fumble. Bailey became an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season, signing with the Steelers in March of 2006.

 

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