For Allen Bailey, it feels like only yesterday that he was laughing in the Chiefs’ locker room with Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard.
Their lockers were side-by-side and the three defensive linemen were so close off the field that they coined themselves the “3 Amigos” and printed up shirts with the moniker. When healthy, they comprised one of the NFL’s better interior groups. Their bond off the field, they thought, only made them stronger on it.
They knew, however, that nothing lasts forever. But while Poe’s offseason departure for Atlanta in free agency was only a mild surprise, the team’s sudden release of Howard — who still had a year left on his contract — was harder to predict, despite the fact he, like Bailey, finished last season on injured reserve.
“Coming in off (last) season, we were thinking about everybody getting back healthy,” Bailey said.
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But even back then, the three insisted they would remain close if the winds of NFL change swept across their bow. True to their word, Bailey says that indeed remains the case.
“Poe had a camp last weekend in Memphis, so we all were down there,” Bailey said. “Jaye had his camp in April, and we all were down there.
“So yeah, there’s still a bond, man. Always a good time.”
Bailey spoke publicly on Friday following the Chiefs’ 10th and final voluntary offseason practice, and for the first time since he was placed on injured reserve last October because of a torn pectoral muscle after only five games.
Bailey said he was injured while attempting a tackle in the Chiefs’ 26-10 win over Oakland on Oct. 16.
“I tried to come back in,” Bailey said. “I thought somebody hit me in the arm, you know? So I’m thinking, OK, it’s spasming or whatever. So I tried to go back in a little bit … and I could tell it was more serious than (that).”
Bailey says he is now 100 percent.
“Injuries (stink), with all the free time and nothing to do,” Bailey said. “I am itching to get back.”
Bailey is eager to bounce back statistically, as he recorded only seven tackles, one hurry and zero sacks in 181 defensive snaps last season.
“Surprisingly, yeah, the arm is still pretty strong,” said Bailey, whose salary cap number is approximately $6.1 million this season and $8 million in 2018. “I didn’t really lose much muscle mass, as you probably can tell, so rehab went good, man.”
He knows that when training camp begins in late July, it will be up to him to prove it, change and all.
“It’s just about getting back into the groove,” Bailey said.