Extra shot of Bailey helping charge Chiefs' defense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It has taken almost eight years for Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey to find a home on the football field.

After four seasons of being moved to different positions while playing for the University of Miami Hurricanes, and then three more years of being a jack of all trades on the Kansas City defensive line, Bailey has spent the 2014 season playing left defensive end and only left defensive end. It has been a motivator for him and revelation for the Chiefs as they try to repeat their postseason position from last season.

"I found a home," Bailey said as he prepared to play a Thursday night game against the Oakland Raiders. "I know I feel more comfortable. I think I've been able to contribute."

The Chiefs obviously agree with that assessment - last week they finalized a four-year contract extension with the former third-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. It's a $25 million deal with $15 million in guaranteed money, including a $10 million signing bonus.

Bailey is one of the faceless players who have lifted the Chiefs to the upper level of the league's defenses. After 10 games, Kansas City is No. 8 in fewest yards allowed and No. 1 against the pass. The Chiefs are No. 2 in fewest points allowed. Pro Bowl defenders like safety Eric Berry, nose tackle Dontari Poe and outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are known around the league.

But, it has been players like free safety Husain Abdullah, slot cornerback Chris Owens, inside linebacker Josh Mauga and Bailey that have lifted their play and made coordinator Bob Sutton's defense the engine that has driven the team to a 7-3 record and a share of first place in the AFC West.

In 10 games, Bailey has taken part in 29 total tackles, just one less than he had all of last season. He has four sacks, or two more than he produced through his first three seasons in the league. Bailey has been credited with seven pressures on the quarterback, also two more than he had in his previous years.

"He's really made a tremendous amount of progress, starting last year," said Sutton. "I just think the more he's played, the better he's got and I think the arrows really point up on him. He's made himself into a real effective first and second down player. We always thought he had the skill to be effective on third down because he's got speed and he's got range.

"I think he's just really become a much better all-around football player."

Bailey is a native of Hog Hammock, a community on Sapelo Island, just off the coast of Georgia, where he commuted to school not only by bus, but a ferry. Gifted with one of those chiseled and athletic bodies, Bailey ended up with the Hurricanes, where he played 50 games and made multiple starts at left and right defensive end and left defensive tackle.

That story continued through the first three seasons with the Chiefs, as Bailey played for three head coaches and three defensive coordinators. Sutton, head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey liked what they saw from Bailey last year and made the decision to not pursue starting defensive end Tyson Jackson, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. The coaches indicated to him that Jackson's spot was his for the taking. Bailey added some weight, grabbed the position and has not let go.

Now, he has a home, a new contract and he's a major player for a defense that faces some strong offenses in the last month of the season like Denver, Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

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