“You will never get the credit you want, but when you go out there and play on Saturday, ….when they say your name……EVERYONE sees”
We all have a right hand man or woman, whether we admit it or not. Nearly every superhero we grew up watching had a sidekick. Each team has a star player, and they also have a guy who doesn’t get a lot of accolades but willingly does the dirty work. For the Louisville Cardinals, we know him as Drew Bailey, or Channel 14 which is the nickname he was given based on his jersey number.
The pride of Jacksonville, Florida the Cardinals landed Bailey out of Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, MS. While everyone focuses on East Mississippi Community College due to the Last Chance U series on Netflix, Pearl River has cranked out some great talent over the years as well. Bailey chose the Cards over such schools as Fresno State, Georgia State, NC State, and Purdue to name a few. Just think, our offense could be lining up against him in Indianapolis next weekend, thankfully it won’t.
Bailey is that name you hear often but don’t realize you heard it until you start reading the stats. He has quietly pieced together some impressive games over his career here at UofL, most notably last season. While most of the fans and NFL scouts focused on Devonte Fields, Keith Kelsey, and Josh Harvey-Clemons, there was Bailey playing the “right hand man” role once again. The vibe I get from Drew is that he couldn’t care less about accolades and honors, he is more concerned with playing football, having fun, and collecting W’s.
During the Charlotte game while we were amazed at the offensive output in the first half, Bailey was busy collecting a pair of tackles and he also recovered a fumble for good measure. He earned his first start the following week in a 62-28 beating of Syracuse. Had a few tackles and a sack in that game. A few weeks later he notched a career high in tackles with 11 against Duke. It was the most by a defensive lineman at Louisville since 2005. You didn’t know that did you? Neither did I. It’s one of the dirty jobs that we didn’t hear much about, but it played a huge part in that 24-14 win.
We sometimes unknowingly take players for granted, especially the players who do the small things to make it all come together. At the end of a movie we are not sticking around to see who the grip was or the executive producer, or who conducted the original score. We fail to realize without those people working behind the scenes, none of it would be possible. There is a motto hanging up at the Schnellenberger Complex that reminds the players to “Stay Hungry and Humble”. If there was ever a phrase that described Drew Bailey, that is it.
At the recent media day, Bailey sat a table with fellow Card and wide receiver Seth Dawkins. Nearby, sat James Hearns who was being swarmed by reporters. He was about to get up and walk away as I approached but quickly sat back down and readied himself for the short interview. The first thing I noticed was his positive energy, to be honest it was hard not to. We have seen a hundred interviews, but Bailey’s are always memorable. He always smiles, always laughs, no matter what. He doesn’t just love playing football, Bailey has a overall love for life itself.
His teammates are drawn to him, Jaire Alexander interrupted the interview to give him a bro hug. The coaches raved about him. L.D. Scott knows he has something special with this group although they are thin in depth.
In the video below, I asked why he is so laid back and he responded,
” You don’t want to take things too serious, no one is making you play football. At the end of the day, I see everyone on the team as my cousin or a brother. So when you go to your cousin’s house you always have fun. But when we get between the lines it’s a whole new ballgame”.
Attitude is everything in life, and a good or bad one can take you down roads you would never imagine. Bailey could play at the next level, or he could go into coaching, or he could just be a hard working individual. Regardless, one thing is for sure about Drew, his personality, demeanor, and positive attitude is going to take him to some great places.
With every memorable win or frustrating loss, one thing is consistent. Bailey is just having fun, whether fans or experts notice or not. While Coach Petrino normally puts the fear of God in most people, even he tends to let Drew do Drew. As I said earlier, positive energy is hard to ignore. Bailey’s energy and attitude is damn near infectious. He reminds me of the best friend you had in high school that would joke all the time but would also handle business when the time called for it and had your back no matter what.
Drew is not just the teammate you want on your team, he is the teammate you need when morale is low or when times are rough. To put it plain and simple, he is the trusty sidekick for the entire team. He may not get all the attention, but without him we would have some major issues.
This fall we all will be tuned in to Channel 14.