2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bills S Byrd following in father's footsteps

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-20 17:29

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Growing up, Jairus Byrd remembers the days when the new shipment of San Diego Chargers helmets would arrive.

Quick as he could, Byrd would pull one over his tiny head and wobble his top-heavy frame out the door to scamper around pretending to be his father.

``I would just run around with the helmet on for no reason, just throwing up the ball,'' the Buffalo Bills safety said. ``I just had a love for the game, because sons want to be like their dads.''

If many kids aspire to one day play quarterback, the dream was far different for Jairus. He wanted to grow up being a defensive back like his father, Gill Byrd, who established himself as one of the Chargers' premier cornerbacks over a 10-year, two-time Pro Bowl career that ended in 1992.

``When I put that helmet on, I wanted to be just like him,'' Byrd said. ``A DB.''

The family legacy for producing top-tier NFL defensive backs has entered its second generation with Byrd's continuing emergence.

He first burst onto the scene in 2009, when the second-round draft pick out of Oregon set a Bills rookie record with nine interceptions. He's since rounded himself into a more complete player.

This season, Byrd leads Buffalo with four interceptions and three forced fumbles, and is tied for second with 57 tackles. He's particularly developed a knack for making game-changing plays on a 4-6 team that still believes it can make a second-half playoff push. One that resumes at Indianapolis (6-4) Sunday.

In Buffalo's 19-16 win at Arizona last month, Byrd set up the decisive field goal by intercepting John Skelton's pass over the middle on the Cardinals' opening drive of overtime.

On Thursday, Byrd helped seal a 19-14 win over Miami. With under 2 minutes left, he burst to his right as quarterback Ryan Tannehill released a deep pass intended for Davone Bess, who had a step on cornerback Justin Rogers.

Covering some 30 yards, Byrd beat everyone to the ball by leaping head-first. He intercepted the pass and managed to land inbounds before sliding into the Dolphins bench.

``Any receiver that's ever played the game would've been proud of that catch,'' Bills coach Chan Gailey said. ``That whole play was really amazing. ... And the timing of it.''

It was a play NFL Network announcers described as ``an Ed Reed type of play,'' in reference to the Ravens star safety.

Former NFL defensive back Aeneas Williams had a different comparison. It reminded him of Gill Byrd.

``When I see him do what he does, it's once again a reminder of some of the things his dad did when he played, and some of the things his dad taught me,'' Williams said. ``And Jairus being the next generation, let's just say he has even more abilities maybe than his dad and I combined. How about that?''

Williams, who split his career between Arizona and St. Louis, is very familiar with the Byrd family. As a player, he spent offseasons being tutored by the elder Byrd. That's how he first met Jairus, who has come to call him ``Uncle Aeneas.''

Williams, who eventually took Jairus under his wing, had his first inkling of Byrd's potential while watching a high school tape.

``I think he was a sophomore,'' he said. ``And just some of the things he was doing were electrifying.''

As for now, Williams said: ``I don't know if he's scratched the surface yet.''

What the 5-foot-10 and 203-pound Byrd lacks in size and breakout speed, he makes up for with instinct. He identifies the play and has an efficiency of movement.

``I've told him, `You've got the best feet. You come out of breaks and it's no wasted steps,''' Bills veteran linebacker Bryan Scott said. ``It's bam! Gone. I'm telling you he is, to me, the best safety in the league.''

Byrd credits his father and Williams for helping him get this far - both physically and mentally.

It's one thing to have the advantage of growing up in the shadow of NFL players and coaches. Byrd also understood it was his responsibility to do something with that edge, knowing there were those wondering whether he was getting preferential treatment because of his name.

``There was always that motivation that in some ways you've got to be better than the rest because of where you come from,'' Byrd said. ``And also, I'm a competitor. So anything your dad does, you always want to try to compete with him.''

Byrd's already ahead of the pace his father established in setting the San Diego career record with 42 interceptions. Jairus currently has 17, six more than his father had after four seasons.

Gill Byrd, a Chicago Bears defensive assistant, wouldn't be upset if his son passes him.

``I know that drives him to be the one in the family to have the most interceptions in the NFL,'' he said. ``And I love it. He has a singular focus to be the best.''

That includes Byrd's approach off the field. Jairus and Gill have established a program called the Legacy Experience, to help fathers and sons build closer relationships.

``To me, that is the one thing that as a dad I'm most proud of,'' Byrd said. ``I think he understands that where much is given, much is required. And he wants to give back to people.''

Dad had plenty more to crow about after Thursday. He was alone at the Bears headquarters watching the Bills game, when he saw his son's interception.

``I was jumping around like a little school kid in the office here,'' Byrd said. ``I was just, `Wow!'''

The Byrds have a reputation for not getting overemotional, so Jairus was a little surprised to hear about his father's reaction.

``That doesn't sound like him, jumping around,'' Byrd said, breaking into a smile, realizing he did his father proud. ``But that's cool.

``That's a dad for you.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Alfred MorrisNov 23 11:52p

Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris averaged 6.0 yards per attempt on 21 carries in the Week 12 game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was his first 100-yard game [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald's (knee) sprained knee did not respond as hoped before the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, so he was inactive. He could well miss more games.

Doug MartinNov 23 10:23p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) returned to the lineup in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears. He carried 11 times for 27 yards. He was sidelined for [ More ]

Michael FloydNov 23 10:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd was targeted twice in the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he did not record any catches or offensive statistics.

DeAndre HopkinsNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins posted five receptions for 39 yards in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is now over 100 receptions for the first time in his career.

Jorvorskie LaneNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) was carted off in the second quarter of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears due to what head coach Lovie [ More ]

Mike EvansNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. He has now scored at [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) suffered a pectoral injury in the Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he will go for an MRI. He might miss [ More ]

A.J. GreenNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green posted a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards in Week 12 against the Houston Texans. 'It's just one of those days when you just [ More ]

Andre SmithNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) suffered a partially torn triceps muscle in the Week 12 against the Houston Texans. He will go for an MRI Monday, Nov. 24.

T Y HiltonNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was up early Sunday, Nov. 23, for the birth of his daughter, and he promised a touchdown. After his wife delivered their child, he [ More ]

Eddie LacyNov 23 08:02p

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (illness) ran 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and he added two [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck completed 21 of his 32 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also ran eight times [ More ]

Charles JohnsonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson had three receptions for a team-high 52 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Greg JenningsNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) had four receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers, his former team. It [ More ]

C. PattersonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle, knee) left the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers due to ankle and knee injuries.

LeGarrette BlountNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount carried 12 times for a team-high 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after re-signing with the team this week.

Golden TateNov 23 06:52p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate had four receptions for 97 yards in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. He went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Jonas GrayNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray did not play in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after he did not report to the team's facility Friday, Nov. [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright played a season-high 60 snaps in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, which shattered his previous best of 21 snaps, which he hit [ More ]

Kendall WrightNov 23 06:23p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright was limited to just one catch for 28 yards in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles. That catch did not come until 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 06:12p

The Cleveland Browns have 14 rushing touchdowns this season, which is the most by the franchise since it had 14 in the 1989 season. The team had just four [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerNov 23 06:12p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger completed 20 of his 39 pass attempts for a career-high 345 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brian HoyerNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed 23 of his 40 pass attempts for 322 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Atlanta Falcons.

Josh GordonNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon posted eight receptions for 120 yards in his regular season debut in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. He was targeted a game-high 16 times in the win.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell carried 12 times for game-high 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

LeSean McCoyNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy carried 21 times for 130 yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added one reception for just one yard.

Mark SanchezNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez completed 30 of his 43 pass attempts for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Tennessee Titans.

Darren SprolesNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles carried six times for 25 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added three receptions for 14 yards.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group