September 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Lions bring in cornerback Champ Bailey for tryout

Josh Katzenstein and Rod Beard on Champ Bailey
Josh Katzenstein and Rod Beard on Champ Bailey: Detroit News sports writers disagree on whether the Lions should sign the veteran cornerback, who worked out with the team Thursday.

Allen Park — The Lions are searching for help in the secondary, and the player who worked out for the team Thursday drew plenty of interest in the locker room.

Champ Bailey, a 36-year-old cornerback and three-time first-team All-Pro, had a tryout with the Lions around noon Thursday, less than a week after the New Orleans Saints released him as part of their final cuts.

Bailey is entering his 16th season, and many people around the league wonder if he still has enough in the tank to contribute in 2014.

“He’s a Hall of Fame player. Obviously we all know that,” Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “Does he have anything left? I didn’t really watch him too much last year, but he has a lot of credibility. And if he does, I’m sure the organization will find out, and if he can help us, I’m with it.”

Last year Bailey played in just five regular-season games for the Denver Broncos, starting three, because of a lingering foot injury. He did, however, play for the Broncos in the postseason and the Super Bowl, which they lost to the Seattle Seahawks.

“We worked him out and had a good look at him as well as several other guys,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “And at this point, we are where we are.”

On Wednesday, the Lions worked out four defensive backs — cornerbacks Tommie Campbell and Roc Carmichael and safeties Chris Clemons and Anthony Walters — according to Fox Sports Midwest.

“There are probably several guys that are out there right now that are unsigned that are going to help somebody win a couple ballgames this year,” Caldwell said. “It always happens.”

The secondary remains a potential weakness for the Lions. Safeties Glover Quin and James Iheidgbo are solid, but neither has proven to be a star yet.

At cornerback, Darius Slay has looked better entering his second season, but questions remain after he struggled his rookie season. Fellow starter Rashean Mathis just turned 34, and there is plenty of room for improvement behind them.

Growing up in Georgia, Slay remembers watching Bailey, who played college football at Georgia before Washington drafted him in the first round in 1999.

“That would be crazy,” Slay said. “If that does happen, I’m going to enjoy that moment (very much). That’s a lot of good knowledge in the room.”

Mathis, who spoke to Bailey briefly after the workout, agreed the veteran could help the defensive backs with his experience.

“You can substitute for a lot of things, but knowledge is not of them,” Mathis said. “He knows the game, and he knows football. When you have that much playing experience, the coaches know just as much as them when it comes to on-the-field stuff. Experience is something you can’t substitute for.”

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Cornerback Champ Bailey was released by the Saints last week. / Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images