It wasn't known whether Stedman Bailey would have the opportunity to return to the NFL. Not after what he went through.
About two-and-a-half years ago, on Nov. 24, 2015, the former St. Louis Rams wide receiver was shot twice in the head in Miami Gardens and ended up in critical condition. His injuries weren't considered life-threatening, but his young football career seemed to be over.
But Stedman, a graduate of Miramar High, wasn't planning on letting his football life end that quickly.
The 27-year-old's first step to returning to the league came Wednesday, when he took part in Marshall's Pro Day.
“I never had a doubt in my mind that I’d be able to play again,” Bailey said, according to the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, West Virginia. “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, a former All-American at West Virginia and a third-round pick by the Rams in 2013, has 59 career catches, 843 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in 38 career games, including six starts.
But even with the uphill battle he faces after more than two years away from the field while recovering, Bailey said he isn’t planning on holding anything back.
“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.”