ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Champ Bailey finally gets a chance to live up to his name.
The 12-time Pro Bowler is headed to his first Super Bowl in his 15th - and most trying - NFL season, one in which he missed 11 games and parts of two others because of a nagging foot injury.
''It hurt not being out there,'' Bailey said after Denver topped New England in the AFC championship game, ''but here I am. I'm on the field and my team's still in the running. That's what it's all about.''
Bailey's subdued celebration and measured reaction in delirious Denver stood in stark contrast to the scene in Seattle later Sunday night, where Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stole the spotlight with his game-saving deflection, his taunting of Michael Crabtree and his television rant on the field afterward.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton