Cornerback has sore wrist, shoulder

Updated: September 25, 2003, 2:31 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Despite a "chip fracture" in his left wrist and a sore left shoulder, Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey reiterated Thursday that he will start Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, and will be able to play through the injuries.

 Champ Bailey
Bailey

Bailey suffered the injuries in last weekend's overtime loss to the New York Giants. At first, the fifth-year veteran felt the wrist was merely sprained, but an examination Tuesday revealed the fracture.

"I'm sure there's going to be some pain, especially if [the wrist] gets jammed or pushed back, but I can't see it being bad enough to keep me off the field," Bailey said. "I have to be a little smarter in practice, try to protect it more, and give it time to heal. But the truth is, it's probably going to be something I just have to deal with for a while."

Regarded as one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks, and a three-time Pro Bowl player, Bailey is adept at using his hands in "press" coverage situations to redirect the routes of opposition wide receivers. Bailey and the Washington coaches have said they will not change coverage tendencies, perhaps relying more on off-man techniques, as a concession to the wrist injury.

Bailey said that he still plans to use his hands as much as ever on wideouts and that he will just have to deal with the pain after the game ends.

The former University of Georgia star has never missed an NFL game. He has played in, and started, all 67 contests since the Redskins drafted him in the first round in 1999.

Bailey, who is in the final year of his contract, adamantly downplayed suggestions that he is playing only because it enhances his market value, and noted that he has played in the past with various ailments. Bailey rejected the club's proposal for an extension late in the preseason, and discussions have been put on hold until the end of the season.

But league sources told ESPN.com that both sides might revisit extension talks before the season concludes. A key issue, those sources said, is the size of the signing bonus and the payout on the deal. Washington offered a combined signing and second-tier option bonus of between $14 million and $15 million in its previous proposal.

The Redskins have strongly hinted they will designate Bailey, 25, as a "franchise" player next spring rather than permit him to become an unrestricted free agent.

"The business stuff," said Bailey, "will take care of itself. We're just concerned with winning football games right now."