Stedman Bailey is working toward an NFL return, two years after being shot in head

Marshall’s Pro Day featured several players hoping to get into the NFL – and one hoping to get back.

Receiver Stedman Bailey, now 27-years-old, was running routes and catching passes from Thundering Herd quarterback Chase Litton, hoping to show scouts on hand that he deserves another shot.

And he did it with a smile, knowing what it’s taken for him to get back to this point.

On Nov. 24, 2015, Bailey was a passenger in a car in Miami Gardens, Fla. when a second car pulled up and someone inside began firing. Bailey was struck twice in the head.

Bailey was brought to the hospital in critical condition. Though his injuries were not life-threatening – the bullets fractured his skull, but did not damage his brain tissue – doctors believed they were career-ending.

18 PHOTOS
Stedman Bailey's life and career
See Gallery
Stedman Bailey's life and career
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21: Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams prior to a game against the New York Giants at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - 2011: Stedman Bailey of the West Virginia Mountaineers poses for a portrait circa 2011 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by West Virginia/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after defeating the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on September 17, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 25: Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers catches a pass in front of Antwaun Reed #22 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers before running in for the touchdown in the first half during the 2011 Backyard Brawl on November 25, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after Tavon Austin #1 scored an 8-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks on against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 29: Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers carries the ball against the Baylor Bears during the game on September 29, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24: Stedman Bailey of West Virginia runs the 40-yard dash during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Stedman Bailey attends the 10th Annual ESPN The Magazine Pre-Draft Party at The IAC Building on April 24, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
EARTH CITY, MO - MAY 10: Stedman Bailey (12) of the St. Louis Rams catches the ball during the 2013 St. Louis Rams rookie camp at Rams Park on May 10, 2013 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16: St. Louis Rams football player Stedman Bailey attends 'NFL Coming Back to LA!' hosted by LA's BEST and the NFL Players Association on May 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates with Tim Barnes #61 after catching a touchdown pass during a preseason NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Edward Jones Dome on August 8, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 21: Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams catches a pass during warm-ups prior to a game between the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys at the Edward Jones Dome on September 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams dances during warm ups piror to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 5, 2014 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 07: Wide receiver Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams takes the field for warmups before the start of a game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 7, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 07: Strong safety Phillip Thomas #41 of the Washington Redskins is stiff armed by wide receiver Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams in the third quarter of a game at FedExField on December 7, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 13: Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams makes a catch in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome on September 13, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 10: Stedman Bailey talks with Shelton Gibson #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during warmups prior to the game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Mountaineer Field on September 10, 2016 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Doctors believed it marked the end of his football career, but Bailey never did.

“I never had a doubt in my mind that I’d be able to play again,” Bailey said, via The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W. Va. “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.

“That incident happened in November 2015 and, five months later, I was on the field running routes and feeling good.”

[Batter up: Join a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for free today]

Last October, Bailey underwent a surgery to insert a plate in his skull, and said it “changed the game” in terms of his return; the plate is stronger than natural skull bone, and can help protect him against NFL-force hits he’d take if he gets to play again.

He was cleared by his doctors in December; NFL teams, of course, would have their own medical questions.

Wednesday was the first time Bailey has been back in front of scouts since the shooting, and was excited for the opportunity.

A third-round pick out of West Virginia in 2013, Bailey played in 38 games with eight starts before that fateful night in November 2015. He had totaled 59 career catches for 843 yards and two touchdowns when the game was yanked away from him.

Since Bailey was not on an NFL roster last year, he is free to sign with a team at any time.

More from Yahoo Sports:
NFLPA calls for combine ‘ban’ after prospect’s claim of inappropriate questions
Infuriated UNC coach tries to rip jacket in half. Fails.
Chloe, meet Chloe: Olympic star gets her own Barbie
Ohtani’s response to Kershaw’s filth? Laughter

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.