He was one cog in the Ravens' wheel of fortune, a role player who fit nicely on the most grudging defense in NFL history.
Robert Bailey played one season in Baltimore and helped the Ravens win a championship. The team's nickel back - the fifth defensive back inserted on obvious passing downs - Bailey recovered a fumble in a 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in January 2001.
Earlier, in the Ravens' AFC title game victory over the Oakland Raiders, he intercepted a pass.
Now retired, Bailey is co-owner and marketing director of Rosenhaus Sports, the country's largest representative of NFL players. But at 39, he can still hear Ray Lewis' voice revving up the team as it burst onto the field every week.
"My fondest memory? Ray's chant before each game," he said. "And the way we always went out there knowing that the defense was going to win it."
The 2000 Ravens set an NFL record for fewest points allowed (165). "That might have been the only team to have gone through a full year with no curfews," Bailey said. "[Coach] Brian Billick said we had to govern each other to prove we were committed.
"He trusted us to be men. That was good. No guys came in late [at night]. You didn't want to be the first guy to get in trouble."
Bailey keeps his Super Bowl ring locked in a safe in his Miami home, along with the one he earned with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1995 season and the two NCAA championship rings he received playing for the University of Miami.
Cherished keepsakes, all.
"The rings are too valuable to be worn - and worn out by the elements," he said.
The game has taken its toll. Bailey is missing part of his left ring finger, which was crushed between two players' helmets early in his 11-year pro career.
Forget the herniated disk that ended his career and the neck spasms that haunt him.
"Football has gotten me where I am today," Bailey said. "I appreciate that."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun