Former Purdue Linebacker Markus Bailey Medically Cleared, Talks About NFL Draft

Brett Douglas

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Former Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey showed off his football skills for the first time in six months this weekend as he continues to pursue his goal of playing in the National Football League. 

Bailey played in just two games in 2019 before tearing his ACL in practice in early September and then underwent surgery on Oct. 1. He was only able to participate in the bench press, media availability and meetings with prospective NFL employers at the NFL Combine in late February.

That optimism about his rehab that he talked about in February has now manifested into reality. Bailey was highlighted by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport via Twitter when he shared Bailey's combine drill workout, which was sent out to prospective teams by his agent. 

“My training and, more importantly, my rehab have both gone extremely well throughout this pre-draft process," Bailey told Sports Illustrated Purdue in a statement. "Starting with my athletic trainers at Purdue, everyone who has worked with me during my recovery has contributed to getting me ready to play football again, especially the physical therapists at the Fischer Institute."

The video from the workout the first action anyone has seen from Bailey since his injury And because of the coronavirus pandemic, Purdue's Pro Day had to be canceled. Bailey also hasn't been able to travel to visit with NFL teams.

When asked what he can bring to an NFL team, Bailey alluded to the fact that he offers a high football IQ, toughness, effort and versatility, all of which were displayed in his combine workout.

Bailey proved that he had NFL talent during his junior year in 2018. He had a team-high 115 tackles, including 9.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a memorable 41-yard interception return for a touchdown in an upset win over No. 2 Ohio State.

He now turns his sights on the NFL Draft, which will take place from April 23 to April 25. In many mock drafts, Bailey is projected to be selected on Day 3 of the draft, which is when rounds four through seven take place. Being cleared medically might improve his draft stock, though. 

Bailey was given the draft grade of 5.99, according to NFL.com, which translates to a backup or special teamer. 

According to a Midwest scout for a NFC team who spoke to NFL.com on Bailey, "he's got a motor and he's smart and active. But you get a little worried about any player who has had two season-ending knee injuries."

Bailey has worked hard to rehab from the injury, and he's thrilled to be this far along prior to the draft.

"This process definitely hasn’t been easy for me, but I’ve done my part and controlled everything I could control.,'' Bailey said.  "I feel that I’m in a good spot heading into the draft." 

His Purdue teammates are thrilled to see him progressing so well. 

"Every (NFL) team asks which teammate I’d take with me and it’s (Bailey) every time!'' former Purdue tight end Brycen Hopkins said in a tweet. "He’s just different.''

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