Super Mario: He Doesn't Always Divulge His True Identity
Mario Bailey works for the Seahawks now, arranging public appearances and taking care of the needs of the NFL team's former and current players. He doesn't always let on who he once was.
Tyler Lockett interacted with him for a year before the Seattle wide receiver learned that this director of legends and player community engagement was, well, another Tyler Lockett in his time.
"He said, 'You never even told me!' " Bailey said with a sly smile. "I'm not one of those types. I don't divulge."
What Lockett found out was Mario Bailey was even better than him as a college player.
Mario's football resume goes something like this: he earned Associated Press first-team All-America honors with the Washington Huskies, topped an unbeaten 1991 national championship team with 18 touchdown receptions, caught 30 scores in his UW career and struck a Heisman pose during the Rose Bowl.
While not overly forthcoming about his past, Bailey certainly hasn't lost any of his competitiveness or swagger.
"I think we beat his team 56-3," Bailey said of Kansas State, Lockett's alma mater.
Bailey pursued his NFL dream for more than a decade. He participated in training camps with the then-Houston Oilers, the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons and competed in NFL Europe for the Frankfurt Galaxy, in the XFL for the Orlando Rage and in the Arena Football League for the Detroit Fury.
He didn't come away completely satisfied with his pro pursuits. He wanted to do Lockett-type things in the NFL.
"I got to play a long time with a lot of great people," he said, "but my career didn't go the way it should have."
While leading his NFL teams in preseason receiving at times, Bailey tore a hamstring muscle early on that set him back and cost him a roster spot. He also failed to make it out of camp as an extra pass-catcher because he didn't do the other things necessary for back-ups.
"I wasn't playing special teams," he said. "If you're a third or fourth receiver, you have to be on kickoff and kickoff return. "If I got to go back and do it again, I would have worked a little harder on that."
Otherwise, Bailey has no complaints. He's coached football a couple of times at his alma mater, Franklin High School, replacing former NFL cornerback James Hasty for the second stint. He dabbles in real estate. He operates a foundation.
He's part of the Seahawks franchise and occupies an office that's filled with photos of legends such as Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Kenny Easley and Steve Largent.
Bailey could play, too. Go ask Lockett. Then again, the Seahawks standout still doesn't know everything about his colleague.
"Tyler is faster than me, but I think I was probably quicker," Mario said with an impish look. "I don't tell him that."