2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bills S Byrd eager to make belated season debut

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-09 17:30

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is eager to put the criticism and scrutiny behind now that he's finally ready to play.

With both feet healthy and after getting the green light from coach Doug Marrone, the two-time Pro Bowl player is ready make his season debut Sunday, when Buffalo (2-3) hosts Cincinnati (3-2).

It'll mark the long-awaited start to Byrd's season after having his motives questioned during an offseason-long contract dispute. He raised further doubts about his desire to play in Buffalo after missing the first five games with plantar fasciitis in both feet.

``Mentally, that's over with. We've just got to win games now,'' Byrd said after practice Wednesday. ``This is all I've wanted from Day 1. A lot of people didn't believe me. But now we're here, and now I finally get to go play. And I'm excited.''

As for those who doubted his intentions and severity of his injury, Byrd held no grudges.

``They're entitled to their own opinion,'' Byrd said. ``I understand why they would be upset.''

And he doesn't see himself as having anything to prove to anyone.

``I'm not trying to win them back over,'' Byrd said. ``I'm just trying to go out there and play my game and do what we can do to win games for these guys in this locker room who have played hard.''

Byrd's back, and suddenly the veil of uncertainty that has hung over his status can finally start being lifted. He has been the focus of attention since March 1, when the Bills applied the franchise tag to prevent Byrd from becoming a free agent.

Though the move allowed Buffalo to retain the player's rights, the two sides became involved in a standoff that wasn't settled until Byrd finally accepted his one-year $6.9 million contact on Aug. 21. The scrutiny didn't end there after Byrd was sidelined by an injury that had been bothering him since last season.

``I'm completely confident in myself, and I knew where I stand with my character,'' Byrd said. ``What another person says about me isn't going to change who I am.''

Byrd's return is the first sign of good news for what's been a rag-tag, injury-depleted secondary. It's a unit that has also been minus starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore (broken left hand), and was down to third- and fourth-stringers after starter Leodis McKelvin was limited the past three weeks with a pulled right hamstring.

McKelvin is back, and Gilmore might not be too far behind after he returned to practice Wednesday.

``Obviously, that could be huge for us,'' safety Jim Leonhard said regarding the potential for reinforcements. ``Any time you get guys like that back on the field, it obviously can provide you a boost.''

Marrone is optimistic about Gilmore's chances of playing, and he's particularly looking forward to Byrd's return. Marrone acknowledged Byrd could have played in a 37-24 loss at Cleveland on Thursday, but he elected to hold the player out for one more week as a precaution.

``I'm really excited to see him back out there,'' Marrone said. ``Even before the Cleveland game when he worked out, I had a great sense of excitement there. And now it's carried over. Now I'm looking forward to him going out and playing.''

The 2009 second-round draft pick out of Oregon is a hard-hitting safety, who is solid against the run and has great range in defending the pass.

Byrd enjoyed a breakout season as a rookie, when he finished tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions - a rookie franchise record. And he's coming off a solid campaign last year, when Byrd led the Bills with five interceptions and four forced fumbles. Overall, he has 18 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and scored two touchdowns in four seasons.

That production had the potential to make Byrd one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason.

Shortly after arriving in Buffalo in August, Byrd expressed his unhappiness about the Bills' decision to retain his rights and failure to negotiate a long-term contract before a July 15 deadline. He said he was ``disappointed'' and declined to answer questions as to whether he wanted to be traded.

Byrd is now focused on playing football.

``I'm going to give it all I've got,'' Byrd said. ``I'm looking forward to just going out there, being with my teammates on Sunday, and getting this thing started with a win.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Connor BarthAug 29 03:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut PK Connor Barth Friday, Aug. 29.

Arrelious BennAug 29 03:32p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Arrelious Benn (back) will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Aug. 29.

B. Green-EllisAug 29 03:12p

The Cincinnati Bengals cut RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis Friday, Aug. 29.

Mitchell Van DykAug 29 02:42p

The St. Louis Rams released OT Mitchell Van Dyk Friday, Aug. 29.

Johnny ManzielAug 29 02:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel showed a strong effort in the team's final preseason game against the Chicago Bears Thursday, Aug. 28, leading head coach Mike Pettine to acknowledge [ More ]

Charles SimsAug 29 02:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims (ankle) is expected to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list, which means he could return late in the season.

Santonio HolmesAug 29 01:52p

Chicago Bears WR Santonio Holmes displayed good burst and explosion on a 32-yard touchdown catch in the team's preseason finale Thursday, Aug. 28, as he tries to make the [ More ]

Larry EnglishAug 29 01:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released LB Larry English Friday, Aug. 29.

Marc MarianiAug 29 01:22p

The Tennessee Titans released WR Marc Mariani Friday, Aug. 29.

Yawin SmallwoodAug 29 01:12p

The Atlanta Falcons released LB Yawin Smallwood Friday, Aug. 29.

Pat AngererAug 29 01:12p

The Atlanta Falcons released LB Pat Angerer Friday, Aug. 29.

S. JanikowskiAug 29 12:32p

Oakland Raiders PK Sebastian Janikowski (quadriceps) is expected to be ready to play in Week 1 against the New York Jets, according to head coach Dennis Allen.

Aaron DobsonAug 29 11:02a

New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson had three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in the final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

Lonnie PryorAug 29 10:42a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released LB Ka'lial Glaud, FB Lonnie Pryor and CB Keith Lewis.

Benny CunninghamAug 29 10:18a

St. Louis Rams RB Benny Cunningham has been the team's best running back during the preseason and could push RB Zac Stacy for playing time this season.

Cam NewtonAug 29 09:37a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsAug 29 08:52a

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) suffered an injury to his ribs in the same area as his previous one, according to sources.

Martavis BryantAug 29 08:42a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder) suffered a sprained right AC joint in his shoulder in the final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

T.J. YatesAug 29 03:32a

Atlanta Falcons QB T.J. Yates threw for two touchdowns and 243 yards in his team's 24-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dan OrlovskyAug 29 03:22a

Detroit Lions QB Kellen Moore was 17 of 28 for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a shutout of the Buffalo Bills Thursday, Aug. 28. It is not known [ More ]

Jeremy HillAug 28 11:52p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (elbow) returned to the team's preseason finale Thursday, Aug. 28, after being evaluated in the locker room at halftime. He finished the game with [ More ]

Nate PalmerAug 28 11:52p

Green Bay Packers OT Aaron Adams (knee) and LB Nate Palmer (knee) left the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

Devonta FreemanAug 28 11:22p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman had 12 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 45 yards during the team's preseason finale Thursday, Aug. 28.

Cecil Shorts IIIAug 28 10:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) said he will be ready for the team's season opener.

Sammy WatkinsAug 28 07:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) left the team's final preseason game with an apparent injury. There was no indication if Watkins aggravated his ribs.

Kyle Van NoyAug 28 07:12p

Detroit Lions LB Kyle Van Noy (abdomen) underwent surgery Thursday, Aug. 28, to repair a core muscle injury. Van Noy's timetable for a return is unknown this early in the process.

Tim BenfordAug 28 07:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jace Davis, Dallas Cowboys WR Tim Benford, Kansas City Chiefs C Ben Gottschalk and Seattle Seahawks OG Greg Van Roten cleared waivers and became free agents Thursday, Aug. 28.

R. Griffin IIIAug 28 05:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III isn't playing consistently, according to ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski. Jaworski said Griffin must learn to throw from the pocket [ More ]

Geoff SchwartzAug 28 05:32p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), CB Prince Amukamara (groin), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OT James Brewer (back), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), OG [ More ]

Navorro BowmanAug 28 04:02p

San Francisco 49ers LB Michael Wilhoite appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker while LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) is out of the lineup.

J. CunninghamAug 28 03:52p

St. Louis Rams TEs Justice Cunningham and Alex Bayer likely are competing for one roster spot. Cunningham is considered a blocking tight end, while Bayer is a pass catcher. [ More ]

Michael SamAug 28 03:52p

St. Louis Rams DE Michael Sam is competing with DE Ethan Westbrooks for a spot on the final roster.

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