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Bills say they'll be patient with Jairus Byrd's absence

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Don't get your jockstrap in a bunch over Doug Whaley's comment the Buffalo Bills "have been in contact" with unsigned safety Jairus Byrd.

Whaley's quote almost immediately became a headline on the team's website, but Whaley didn't say when the "contact" occured, and he didn't say what "contact" consisted of.

Was it a lengthy discussion with numbers exchanged yesterday?

Did a carrier pigeon drop a rolled-up note on Byrd's lawn in June?

"Again, we're not going to do anything in public or in the media," Whaley said today at St. John Fisher College. "Just know that we have been in contact and the lines of communication are open."

While Whaley is the general manager and has made comments about Byrd on behalf of the front office, Bills senior vice president of football administration Jim Overdorf handles contract negotiations.

Byrd's agent, Eugene Parker, told Channel 7 sports director Jeff Russo today in an email there was "nothing new to report" about Byrd's contract issues.

Whaley was asked if the Bills underestimated Byrd's resolve to take the contract negotiation this deep into the summer.

"I just think it's a normal negotiation process," Whaley said. "We've worked hard. They've worked hard. It's part of the business that's the business of football.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to come to a common ground. But again, we respect him as a player, and when he comes in -- I know the type of person he is -- he'll be in shape, and he'll be ready to go."

Bills coach Doug Marrone also expressed a willingness to be patient about Byrd's contract.

"I think everyone understands the situation," Marrone said. "We're looking forward to him coming, and we'll welcome him back.

"We understand with the collective bargaining agreement that he has the ability to not be here right now, and we respect that. We really do. We'll concentrate on the players that are here now and look forward to Jairus reporting in the future."


Doug Marrone | Doug Whaley | Jairus Byrd
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |