Confession time. I never had heard of Alvin Bailey until the Seahawks won the NFC title on Jan. 19. And I might have even met him before.
Bailey was an Oklahoman all-stater in 2008, and I present the all-state awards at the Jim Thorpe banquet every year. I guess it’s possible Bailey missed the banquet, but most players make it.
So bad on me. I should have known that a kid from Broken Arrow, who went to Arkansas, had made the NFL.
I chatted with Bailey on Tuesday at Super Bowl Media Day and wrote about him for the Wednesday Oklahoman, which you can read here.
But here are some other things you might find interesting about Bailey:
* Bailey and fellow Seahawk lineman Michael Bowie — who I’m writing about later in the week — played AAU basketball together as teen-agers.
Both said they first saw themselves as basketball players.
“Came time my sophomore year when I realized I was going to play football,” Bailey said. “You play football, you watch the NFL, you watch the Super Bowl, it’s something every kid dreams about it. For it to become a reality, it’s a pretty big deal.”
* Bailey lauded a variety of his former coaches.
“I was very fortunate to play for some very great coaches,” he said. “I played for Bubba Burcham (then a Broken Arrow assistant) my first year in high school, then I played for Ron Lancaster, Coach (Steve) Spavital, Craig Simmons. I’ve always been blessed to have great coaches. They took good care of me. Showed me a lot of things.
“I went to college, the transition wasn’t that much. I played for some good coaches in college, too. So the transition really wasn’t that bad.”
Burcham, the center on OU’s 2000 national title team, was Broken Arrow’s line coach before becoming Coweta’s head coach. Lancaster was Bailey’s Broken Arrow head coach; Spavital, Lancaster’s successor, and Simmons were Tiger assistants when Bailey played.
* I mentioned that Alvin Bailey Sr. played basketball for Eddie Sutton at Arkansas in the late ‘70s. I called Sutton on Tuesday night, and he didn’t even realize that Alvin Bailey Jr. had gone to Arkansas, much less was now in the Super Bowl.
“That was a long time ago,” Sutton said. “I kind of lost track of him. I haven’t talked to (Alvin Sr.) in a long while.”
* The Seahawks are the rarest of Super Bowl teams. They have no players who ever have played in a Super Bowl.
“Oh man, it’s big,” Bailey said. “Nobody on our team’s ever been to the Super Bowl. We got a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. That’s something, people that have played a lot, don’t get to do.
“It’s great. Having fun, lot of media and stuff. Getting on TV and stuff. It’s a great experience.”
* Bailey said he was always a Razorback. OU and OSU “recruited me a little bit, I really wasn’t too interested. I wanted to get out of the state.”
* Bailey arrived in Seattle at an opportune time. The Seahawks are forging an identity as an old-school team that runs the ball with power.
Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable said Bailey is an accomplished pass protector who’s learning how to run block.
“It’s going great,” Bailey said. “The adjustment part, football is football. That’s not going to change. It’s the things that come with it. Managing time, there’s no school anymore, so you’ve got all day to focus on football. I’ve had a great year so far.
“With the guys in my room every day, the older guys, the offensive line, the coaches, the whole team, really, they do a good job keeping us young guys up to par. Making sure we stay in line.
“It’s a fun environment. We’ve got some great running backs. We know we come off the ball, open the holes for them, they make things happen.”