Bailey: I'm underpaid

Redskins corner Champ Bailey doesn't want to talk about his contract. But he knows it's a hard topic to avoid. All he knows is that he'll sign a big one next season. He just doesn't know where.

Bailey is an unrestricted free agent after the season, but little progress has been made on any new deal with Washington. Bailey would prefer something happen before the season. He knows he doesn't control that, however.

''As far as I'm concerned, it's out of my hands,'' said Bailey after the Redskins first practice this morning. ''I can be a prick and not come to camp and hold out. I came in here with class and I'm going to leave with class. Plain and simple. I don't want to talk about the contract now. I have one agenda and that's to be the best corner in the league and to win a championship with this team.''

Bailey has made the past four Pro Bowls and will command a hefty salary on the open market. The Redskins could place the franchise tag on him, but that often ends with bitter feelings by the player.

''I know what my contract says now and I know I'm underpaid,'' he said. ''You know I'm underpaid. Everyone knows I'm underpaid. But I signed for five years and I have to live to that and say that was my fault. I take all the pressure and put it on me. I don't care about the contract right now. Hopefully that's the last I'll hear about it.''

Bailey wouldn't say if he would negotiate during the season.

''I'm not going to say that I'm not going to,'' he said. ''I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to be the guy who steps forth and does something. I can be a businessman if I want to be and try and do that. But I'm out here to have fun and play football. I have enoughto support my family now. The big bucks are down the road. I know it.''


. . . Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson did not participate in practice and probably won't for most of the week as the Redskins try to re-do his deal.

. . . Running back Ladell Betts missed practice because of a ''family emergency.'' He's expected back soon.

. . . End Bruce Smith wasn't 100 percent definitive, but he did say this looks like it'll be his last season.

. . . Attendance at the morning workout: about 500 people.

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