Just before Thanksgiving in 2015, then-St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey was sitting in a car near his childhood home in Miami when he was shot three times, twice in the head.
The shots came from a nearby car that riddled the car Bailey and his cousin occupied with bullets. His cousin believes the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
The shots fractured his skull. He didn’t suffer any damage to his brain tissue, but it was clear that survival and recovery were top priority, and he would never play football again.
Or so it seemed.
He told West Virginia fan site DubVNation and ‘Good Morning Football’s’ Peter Schrager that his personal doctors have cleared him to pursue his dream of returning to an NFL field.
— GMFB (@gmfb) December 13, 2017
“Doctors say I can play,” Bailey, a former Mountaineer, told DubVNation. “But it’ll be up to teams to clear me, which I’ll be looking at this offseason.”
Schrager described a medical procedure that left Bailey with a titanium plate in place of the damaged part of his skull that is harder than human bone. He also reported that Bailey is in football shape and running a 4.4-second 40-yard-dash.
It’s a lot to overcome, and in this age of heightened awareness of head trauma, it still seems a long shot that NFL doctors would give Bailey the green light to return to football.
But Bailey is determined and is looking to be a free-agent pickup for next season.
“I’ll be looking for teams to bring me in for workouts so they can see me move personally,” Bailey told DubVNation. “From there I know I’ll be good.”