The Los Angeles Rams have navigated the turbulent waters of the NFL for the past five seasons with a captain asleep at the wheel.
Amid a tenure of mediocrity and questionable coaching choices (at least on the offensive side of the ball), Jeff Fisher had guided the team to a 31-43 record. After a 3-1 start to this season, the Rams have lost seven of their last eight games.
Fisher has long been hailed as a good defensive coach. This year, the team boasts a Top 10 defense.
The offense? Dead last.
Last season? Dead last.
You get the point.
Who is to blame for the woefulness? How about GM Les Snead? He put the roster together. He made the personnel decisions. Fisher? He’s the coach. It’s his responsibility to make sure his players are ready, motivated, and an effective gameplan is in place.
What about Stedman Bailey? Is he to blame?
You might be asking yourself at this point: what in the world is this guy talking about? Bailey was shot in the head last year and hasn’t been cleared to play. Of course he shouldn’t be the one to blame. No way.
That’s not how Jeff Fisher sees it.
Seriously cannot get over Jeff Fisher blaming the past five years on Tre Mason and Stedman Bailey. pic.twitter.com/3mmiaZ8D9Y
— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) December 7, 2016
Bailey had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) when shot. If Bailey could, he’d be on the field with his old team. Same with Mason.
Tre Mason was a running back who had off-the-field troubles. He was a good player when on the gridiron. His mother said that head trauma from football has led to a “10-year-old’s” mindset. Mason was recently admitted to a South Florida hospital for mental evaluation.
Many WVU fans remember the troubles Chris Henry went through as we come up on the eight-year anniversary of his death. During his playing career, he contracted CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy).
The affects of CTE include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, anxiety, suicidality, parkinsonism, and, eventually, progressive dementia. These symptoms often begin years or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.
In one breath, Fisher takes responsibility while casting blame for the team’s struggles on two players with problems beyond their control.
A good head coach takes the whole blame through the tough times and gives credit during the good. Not the other way around.
The Rams recently extended Fisher’s and Snead’s contracts. Go figure.
WVU’s record-breaking wide receiver and member of the Rams, Stedman Bailey, will appear at Sportsfanz in Hurricane, WV to meet fans and sign autographs.
The event will take place at the Sportsfanz location at 105 Liberty Square in Hurricane on Sept. 17, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. EST (click here for directions).
Bailey set records for the Mountaineers from 2010-12, including 41 touchdown catches–a feat that could stand for many years to come. He stands in second place in school history behind long-time teammate Tavon Austin in total receiving yards. His 303-yard and five touchdown performance against Baylor in 2012 is the stuff of legend.
He went on to get drafted by the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams and played alongside Austin. His career is currently on hold from being shot multiple times last November.
He is back in Morgantown and working to pursue his degree while helping the WVU football team as a student assistant.
He told FOX Sports this week that he still endeavors to one day play again in the NFL.
“Physically I feel great,” Bailey said. “I feel like I could line up and compete right now, but the doctors and specialists who did the surgery on my head said that I need at least a full year to heal up before they can re-evaluate because contact wouldn’t be too good. After November, I’ll start to re-evaluate again. Hopefully, I’ll get good results. This would only be my fourth year and I still feel like I have so much to give. “
The autograph event It is FREE to attend but there is a cost for autographs and pictures.
Call Sports Fanz WV with any questions (681)235-3124
Record-setting receiver Stedman Bailey made a visit to the low country of Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, July 22 for a meet and greet at the Charleston Sports Pub. We sat down with Bailey and talk about his return to West Virginia, what he thinks of the coming season and his future plans.
Bailey played for the Mountaineers during the 2010-2012 seasons, entering the 2013 NFL draft with just less than a year left before obtaining his college degree. Bailey went on to play for the Los Angeles, formerly St. Louis Rams until that unfortunate November evening in the fall of 2015; where Bailey was unfortunately shot in south Florida.
Bailey’s return to the Mountaineers, as a student assistant coach for the upcoming season shows the receiver has the embodiment of the phrase “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.” Sometimes there is truly nothing better than coming home, a place close to home, to both better oneself and give back to a place that gave so much. That’s exactly what Bailey is doing in coming back to West Virginia.
The most important thing about returning to West Virginia for the new student assistant coach is to finish his degree. Bailey has just a handful of classes remaining before graduating and this pretty much number one on his list.
For Bailey, the chance to return to West Virginia and finish his degree sets a precedent for his young son to look up to. Having the opportunity to return to school and complete his education, while assisting with the many talented and young receivers on the football team shows just how deep the Mountaineer spirit is in fan-favorite Stedman Bailey.
Prior to his arrival in Morgantown, Bailey is in contact with the players on the team, making sure they are staying out in shape and getting ready for the upcoming season. Bailey has been given the opportunity to impart his skill and wisdom upon these players.
For the players, it is quite literally a chance to firsthand learn and train with a record-setting athlete. The new coach has high expectations for the Mountaineers this season. Bailey sees a lot of talent on the team. With him being around the players, they are essentially handed a football mentor close to their age who has ran up and down that field countless times before.
This fall will be a different experience for wide receiver, watching the game as opposed to suiting up and playing. One of Stedman’s best moments at West Virginia was inaugural Big 12 game against Baylor several years ago; a shoot out many fans remember quite fondly.
“With us knowing that they were going to be our first Big 12 opponents,” Bailey told us, “everybody felt that we wanted to make a statement and let these guys know that we’re here and we aren’t to be taken lightly.”
Bailey is working on returning to playing in the NFL, but right now he is returning to Morgantown. He will be a student assistant coach for the Mountaineers for the 2016 season.
He was a member of the first West Virginia team in the Big 12, having played his final season in Morgantown during the school’s inaugural Big 12 season.
When asked who he thought was the Mountaineers’ rival in their relatively new conference, Bailey said “. . . every game is something that you would count as a rival team. Any given Saturday you’re playing an opponent that can probably score a lot of points and no game is to be taken lightly.”
With Big 12 media days having just ended, we asked about Bailey’s thoughts on conference expansion, with the receiver saying how much he enjoys watching “good college football games” and the “. . . better the competition, the better the games would be.”
Not only does he have the opportunity to finish his degree, but he will be continuing to rehab, work out and train to prepare for a return to the NFL.
There is another fan favorite on the Rams team, Bailey’s close friend Tavon Austin. When asked about Tavon’s upcoming season, Bailey said “I think he will do great. He’s been busting his butt this whole off-season.”
Austin has two more years left on his contract with the Rams after they picked up the fifth-year option available to first round picks, and Bailey’s absence from the team this fall will be just another motivation for Austin to go out every Sunday and leave it all on the field in the Rams’s new home of Los Angeles.
Bailey will now get to have that “fan” experience of watching the game as opposed to being one of the key players of the game, taking part in “Country Roads” as a fan cheering on their team after victory, whereas he used to sing the song after being a key part of creating the victory on the field.
“I’m really interested in just seeing what the whole atmosphere is to watch. I never really had that experience. I’m sure it’s a blast.”
Mountaineer fans around the world would be quick to tell him, that yes, that is experience of watching the Mountaineers play is something wonderful.
What happened last fall to Bailey was a terribly unfortunate incident that has created a little bump in the road for the football player. Bailey is handling the situation with great grace and one of the best attitude’s to be seen by anyone. Instead of just waiting to return the NFL, he is bettering himself and giving back to a team and school that loves him so much.
By coming back to West Virginia, Bailey is instilling the “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer” tradition, and showing the new Mountaineers how to make the best out of every situation. We are hopeful that after returning to West Virginia and completing his degree, Bailey makes that return to the NFL and our Sunday afternoons see him back on the field.
Whatever his future may hold, this Mountaineer has shown Mountaineer pride and that he is capable of literally quite anything.
Standout Mountaineer wide receiver Stedman Bailey will be joining the Mountaineers coaching staff for the 2016 season. Bailey, who was playing for the Los Angeles Rams, was the victim of a shooting in Florida last fall. Bailey was waived by the Rams this summer, but the receiver was spending time with the team during their summer workouts, as well as time spent with the Rams coaching staff.
Bailey was one of West Virginia’s top receivers, playing for the Mountaineers during 2010-12 seasons. Bailey set numerous records and continues to hold them at West Virginia. Now, the receiver has been given the chance to join West Virginia’s coaching staff as a student assistant coach for the 2016 season. Bailey is returning to Morgantown and will now have the opportunity to complete his bachelor’s degree in mulitdisciplinary studies.
Bailey now has the chance to not only to complete his college degree, but he will be working with the Mountaineer receivers this upcoming season. This is an outstanding opportunity for both Stedman and the Mountaineer receivers, as he will be able to help young Mountaineers work on their skills while returning to Morgantown and completing his studies.
Official press release from WVU courtesy WVU Athletic Communications:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – (July 17, 2016) – West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has announced that former All-American and record-setting wide receiver Stedman Bailey will join the WVU coaching staff as a student assistant coach for the 2016 season.
“I know Stedman is very disappointed that he isn’t able to play football at this time. However, I am glad that he is going to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive one by coming back to WVU as a student assistant coach and more importantly finishing his degree,” Holgorsen said.
“He was an important part of our football program as a player, and I look forward to him being with us once again. Like we say here – once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.”
Bailey will enroll full-time at WVU to complete his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies.
“First of all, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Rams organization, my teammates, coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and the ownership for the way they have taken care of me and my family since they drafted me. They’re a first-class organization and made me feel like part of the family, especially during the past few months, which have been a tough time,” Bailey said.
“Moving forward, I would like to thank West Virginia University, especially coach Dana Holgorsen and athletic director Shane Lyons for making this opportunity available. Even though my playing career isn’t over yet, this gives me more time to heal so I can make a return. However, It is important to me to finish my degree. I loved my time as a Mountaineer football player and I look forward to working with coach Holgorsen and the Mountaineer football program.”
After being drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the then-St. Louis and now Los Angeles Rams, Bailey played three years for the organization, before an incapacitating injury sidelined him at the end of the 2015 season.
“We couldn’t be happier for Stedman and this opportunity he has to complete his degree and join West Virginia’s coaching staff,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “His presence during our offseason program meant a great deal to his teammates, and his mentorship was invaluable to our young rookies. Stedman’s ability to teach, and his remarkable drive and determination will serve him well at West Virginia, and we wish him and his family the best as they step into the next chapter of their lives.”
While playing for the Mountaineers from 2010-12, Bailey played in 39 career games and started 34. He compiled 3,218 receiving yards on 210 catches and scored 41 touchdowns. His receiving touchdowns were the most in school history, he has the most 100-yard receiving games, his receiving yards were second most and he was No. 6 in scoring with 246 points.
As a junior, he finished with a school-record tying 114 catches for a school-record 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. The receiving touchdowns tied for the second-most all-time in a season nationally. He was named first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, CBSSports.com, Phil Steele and SI.com and earned second-team accolades from the Associated Press, Walter Camp and FoxSports.com. The All-Big 12 first-team honoree was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, signifying the top receiver in college football.
He holds the school single-game receiving marks and three of the top five, including a school record 303 yards on 13 catches against Baylor. He is tied for the school record for most receptions in a game (14) and had four of the top seven marks.
As a sophomore, he finished with 1,279 yards on 72 catches and 12 touchdowns, earning All-Big East first team honors and setting the then-single-season receiving yards mark at WVU.
“West Virginia University is a class institution and I commend Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers’ Athletic Director Shane Lyons and associate athletic director of football operation Alex Hammond for reaching out to Stedman and offering him the chance to return to school and contribute to their football program as a student assistant coach,” Rams General Manager Les Snead said. “Stedman has been working extremely hard to get back into football condition, and he has come a long way in a short period of time. This opportunity at West Virginia will allow him to be even more productive during this year of rehabilitation by finishing something that will pay dividends for a lifetime.”
Along with completing his degree, Bailey will be able to take part in on-field coaching and teaching of the Mountaineer receivers.
The Rams made a flurry of roster moves today. The waiving of Stedman Bailey was one of them.
Bailey was shot in the head last November in Miami Gardens, FL. He had surgery shortly thereafter and began a long rehab in an effort to get back on the field again. He did not play during the 2015 season following that incident.
If you follow him on social media, then you know he has been training hard.
The Rams waived him with the non-football injury designation.
A few months ago, Bailey said he hoped to play again despite warnings from doctors.
“It’s still a dream of mine to do good things in the NFL,” Bailey said in February. “I just came off my third year of being in the NFL and I feel like I’ve got so much more in me. I want to at least have a 10-year career, so after three years, I feel like I still have a lot left in my tank to just keep going and continue to live out my dream.”
If/when Bailey clears waivers, he is expected to re-join the Rams in a non-football playing capacity per Steve Wyche.
WVU fans have been extraordinarily blessed over the last twenty years when it comes to talented receivers.
Each receiver ranked in the top ten of the three major receiving categories (receptions, yards and touchdowns) suited up for the Mountaineers in the last two decades, besides three (Rich Hollins, Cedric Thomas and Reggie Rembert).
While many will cite the change of offenses as the reason for this, it is also fair to point out that five WVU receivers have been drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft since 1996, compared to one leading up to 1996. Regardless, WVU has been blessed with talent at the receiving position and I would like to take a look at the best receivers in Mountaineer history.
5. Shawn Foreman
Career stats: 169 receptions, 2,347 yards & 16 Touchdowns
Foreman was a rare talent for the Mountaineers, possessing the ability to play on both sides of the football.
During his first two seasons, Foreman was used as utility man playing safety and receiver for WVU.
Foreman’s sophomore season is whenever he began to show his ability on both sides of the ball, recording over 400 receiving yards while also being the teams back-up strong safety.
However, it was Foreman’s Junior campaign that saw him perform his best, setting a WVU school-record with 77 receptions (the record has since been broken).
The 77 receptions led the Big East, and placed Foreman on the All-Big East First-Team, his first of two selections.
His 928 yards during his Junior season then stood as the third best total in school history.
As a Senior, Foreman recorded 948 yards on 63 catches and earned his second consecutive First-Team selection.
Foreman’s career statistics place him in the program’s top five of all-time leaders of receptions and yards.
4. Kevin White
Career stats: 144 receptions, 1,954 receiving yards & 15 touchdowns
It can be argued that Kevin White is the most talented pass-catcher on this list, and there is nothing I could say against that argument.
However, for these rankings I want to emphasize their success as a Mountaineer.
Kevin White was the highest drafted receiver in Mountaineer history, and his 2014 season was arguably the greatest season ever by a Mountaineer receiver.
As a JUCO recruit, White’s time in the Blue & Gold was limited. He only had one true season as the number one option, and during that season he produced incredible results (109 receptions, 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns).
This season included a school record 16 receptions against Texas, and a 216 yard performance against Maryland that is 3rd in WVU history (1st by a player not named Stedman Bailey, who will be discussed later on).
White’s explosiveness and size made him a force to be reckoned with, and it was difficult to find someone who could stop him.
If White had more time as a Mountaineer, it is hard to predict the numbers he could have produced.
However, his 2014 season will go down in the history books as one of the best seasons WVU fans have seen.
3. David Saunders
Career Stats: 191 receptions, 2,608 yards & 18 touchdowns
Saunders had one of the most prolific careers of any receiver in WVU history.
As a redshirt freshman, Saunders started for the Mountaineers and set freshman records with 682 yards and five touchdowns.
In his first game, Saunders hauled in six catches for 130 yards, setting the tone for the rest of his career as a Mountaineer.
There was no Sophomore slump for Saunders, as he was selected to his first All-Big East selection as a first teamer. During his Sophomore campaign, Saunders led the Big East with 83 yards and 6.1 receptions per game.
He finished the season with 1,043 yards, becoming the first receiver in WVU history to break the 1,000 yard mark.
Saunders sat out for the 1997 season, but returned during the 1998 season and made the All-Big East Second-Team, and tie Shawn Foreman’s single season reception mark with 77.
Saunders enjoyed a great career in the Arena Football League, tallying 5,000 yards receiving while also playing linebacker for his teams. He recorded over 100 tackles during his eight year career, along with 115 receiving touchdowns.
Saunders’ caught a touchdown in the 2007 ArenaBowl, during his teams’ 53-33 loss.
1a/1b. Tavon Austin & Stedman Bailey
Career stats: Austin- 288 receptions, 3,413 yards receiving, 29 receiving touchdowns, 1,033 rushing yards, 2,407 KR yards & 10 touchdowns combined from rushing and returning.
Bailey: 210 receptions, 3,218 receiving yards & 41 touchdowns
These two receivers did so much during their time together, that it is nearly impossible to place one ahead of the other, so they take the top two spots in a tie for first.
Tavon Austin holds the school record for career receptions and receiving yards, largely due to his role in the offense during his entire four-year career at WVU. Stedman Bailey is 2nd in both categories, despite only being at WVU for three years.
Bailey holds the record for career receiving touchdowns with 41, and Austin is one spot behind him with 29 receiving touchdowns but collected 10 extra touchdowns in the return game, and as a running back.
When these two stepped on the field, there was always the potential of magic. Austin used electrifying speed and cuts, while Bailey used precise routes and fantastic hands to reel in almost every ball thrown his way.
While Austin holds two career records to Stedman’s one, Bailey had the best statistical season by any receiver in the history of WVU.
During the 2012 season Bailey recorded 114 receptions, 1,622 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns, all which are single-season records at WVU.
Bailey finished 2nd that season in the NCAA in receiving yards, 3rd in receptions and led the nation in receiving touchdowns.
Bailey’s 25 receiving touchdowns were the 3rd most of all-time, and were eleven more touchdowns than any other receiver in college football that season.
Austin’s 2012 season was nothing to overlook either.
Austin had 114 receptions (tying Bailey for the school-record), 2,745 all-purpose yards (1249 receiving) and 39 total touchdowns.
As many remember, Austin had one of the most memorable performances in Milan Puskar Stadium history against the Oklahoma Sooners.
From the beginning of the season, Austin had been used all over the field in as many ways imaginable. For this game, Austin lined up in the backfield for the Mountaineers and torched the Sooners for 344 rushing yards on 21 carries.
The two players were so magnificent that it is tough to compare them and what they did for WVU football.
In terms of Mountaineer history compared to the NBA, its almost like comparing Lebron and Michael Jordan (even though I think it’s MJ and not even close, but that is a different argument.)
Both players were so incredible, and excelled in their style of football that you cannot put one ahead of the other. What Stedman lacked, Tavon made up for and vice versa.
The two players will go down as two of the greatest Mountaineers of all-time, and will hold records for a long time.
Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the Comments!
The 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone, and WVU football saw five players drafted and a plethora of undrafted free-agents signed. In addition to some free-agent movement, here are the 32 Mountaineers on rosters as of May 9, 2016.
These numbers will likely be added to and subtracted from when we put out this list again in August before the start of training camp and then again going into the Regular Season.
Arizona Cardinals – Shaq Riddick
Buffalo Bills – Marquis Lucas
Carolina Panthers – Daryl Worley, Jared Barber
Chicago Bears – Nick Kwiatkoski, Kevin White
Cincinnati Bengals – Mario Alford, Will Clarke, Adam Jones
Cleveland Browns – Kyle Rose
Green Bay Packers – Don Barclay
Houston Texans – K.J. Dillon
Indianapolis Colts – Pat McAfee
Los Angeles Rams – Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey
Minnesota Vikings – Nick O’Toole
New York Giants – Will Johnson, J.T. Thomas
New York Jets – Geno Smith
Oakland Raiders – Bruce Irvin, Karl Joseph
Philadelphia Eagles – Wendell Smallwood, Najee Goode, John DePalma
San Diego Chargers – Dreamius Smith, Shaq Petteway, Terrell Chestnut
Seattle Seahawks – Mark Glowinski
Tampa Bay Bucs – Charles Sims, Keith Tandy
Tennessee Titans – Quinton Spain
Washington Redskins – Terence Garvin
Draft week is finally upon us, and we are looking at multiple Mountaineers to be drafted by NFL teams. As we ponder the futures of players like Karl Joseph, K.J. Dillon and Wendell Smallwood, we look back at the Mountaineers currently in the NFL who were taken in the first three rounds of previous NFL Drafts.
Adam “Pacman” Jones: Jones was drafted in the 2005 NFL Draft and was taken 6th overall to the Tennessee Titans. Since his start in the NFL, Jones has played 114 games, and has allotted 339 tackles, 14 interceptions, and 6 fumbles. Jones currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bruce Irvin: Irvin was taken in the 2012 NFL Draft 15th overall by the Seattle Seahawks. Irvin has played 58 games since joining the NFL in 2012. Irvin has became one of the most noted defenders in the game with his style of play. Irvin has gathered up a total of 131 tackles with 87 being solo tackles. Irvin has also forced 4 fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. Irvin recently signed with the Oakland Raiders after Seattle did not pick up his 5th year option.
Tavon Austin: Austin was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft and 8th overall to the Los Angeles Rams. Since Austin has joined the Rams, they have found how to use him on special teams with Austin with him attempting to run 102 times and gathering up 939 yards and 3 touchdowns and has the third longest punt return in NFL History. Austin also made himself known in the receiver category with 123 receptions, 9 touchdowns and 1,133 yards..
Kevin White: White was taken 7th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears.. He was sidelined his entire rookie season due to a shin injury and it required surgery. The WVU star receiver is expected to practice at full speed during spring minicamps.
Geno Smith: Smith was taken 39th overall in the 2nd round to the New York Jets in 2013. Since then Smith has played 31 games under center. Smith has allotted 493 completions in 852 attempts. He has thrown 27 touchdowns, 5,836 yards and 35 interceptions. He lost his starting job after having his jaw broken after a locker room incident with a teammate before the first preseason game. With Ryan Fitzpatrick’s future with the team uncertain, the Jets may call on Smith to start next season. The 2016 season will be the last year of his rookie contract.
Stedman Bailey: Bailey joined Mountaineer teammate Tavon Austin in the 2013 NFL Draft being selected 92nd overall in the third round to the Los Angeles Rams. Bailey has played 38 games and has 59 receptions, 843 yards, and two touchdowns. He missed the latter part of the past season due to a tragic injury after he was shot in the head in his car while in Florida. Since the incident, he is now working out and hoping to get back on the gridiron as soon as possible.
Charles Sims: Sims was selected in the 3rd round 69th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sims has played 24 games since joining the NFL. While playing in Tampa Bay, Sims has attempted to rush 173 times and has 714 yards rushing. Last season, the versatile Sims led all NFL running backs in yards per carry. With the offensive-minded Dirk Koetter taking over for head coach Lovie Smith after one season, Sims looks to take more of a role in the Bucs offense next season.
Will Clark: Clark was drafted in the 3rd round, 88th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He has five solo tackles in his career. He looks to move up the depth chart this season.
Stay tuned to BlueGoldSports and WVUPros for up to the minute alerts on the up and coming Mountaineers in the 2016 NFL Draft.