More than two years after doctors told him his career was over, former St. Louis Rams receiver Stedman Bailey worked out at Marshall’s Pro Day on Wednesday, running routes and grabbing passes from Marshall quarterback Chase Litton.
On Nov. 24, 2015, Bailey was shot twice in the head in a drive-by attack while he was a passenger in a car in Miami Gardens, Florida. The injuries fractured his skull and left the third-year wide receiver in critical condition.
Doctors told him his career was over, but Bailey wasn’t ready to give up.
“I never had a doubt in my mind that I’d be able to play again,” Bailey, 27, told the Huntington Herald Dispatch. “It kind of hurt with reports from doctors that I may not be able to walk or I may have trouble speaking again. Me, just being a positive person that I am, I just waved those reports off like, ‘OK, we’ll see.’ I set it in my mind to show them differently.”
Bailey said he had surgery in October to insert a plate in his skull and that “changed the game,” opening the door for a comeback. He said the plate is strong enough to serve as a protective barrier against the violent hits he would take in the NFL.
Bailey racked up 210 catches for 3,218 yards and 41 touchdowns in three years at West Virginia. He was starting to prove himself with the Rams on special teams and totaled 843 receiving yards over the course of 38 games (eight starts).
“I know a lot of teams probably remember me and what type of player I was at the time,” Bailey said. “I’m trying to prove that I am still that guy and probably even better. It’s all about proving it and capitalizing on the opportunities that are given to me.”
He said he will participate in West Virginia’s Pro Day on March 29 if he isn’t signed by then.
“I miss the game so much,” Bailey told ESPN in July. “I owe it to myself to give everything that I’ve got to get back on the field.”