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Jairus Byrd doesn't deny he has asked Bills for a trade

By Tim Graham

Jairus Byrd sounded bitter and resigned over his status with the Buffalo Bills.

Byrd, the two-time Pro Bowl safety, met with reporters today for the first time since ending a long contract squabble with the Bills last week.

He often referred to "the business side" when asked about his future and insisted he's "focusing on football." But his aggravation with the Bills' front office was obvious at times.

Byrd measured his words carefully. Asked if he had requested a trade, Byrd declined to take advantage of an opportunity to deny that he'd asked for one or to proclaim how much he loves being a Buffalo Bill.

"I'm going to leave the private matters of the business side between us," Byrd said. "But I don't really want to comment on other things."

Byrd was asked whether he was hurt by the way the Bills handled his contract situation. He paused four seconds before responding.

"I feel how anyone else would feel if you're in my position," Byrd said. "If that's 'hurt,' sure. If that's ... But it's also business.

"So, I mean, you can't really as a human ... It's easy to say, 'Don't take things personal.' But it's hard, you know what I'm saying?"

The Bills used their franchise tag on Byrd, guaranteeing him a one-year contract at $6.916 million. But that designation denied Byrd the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent and discover his true worth on the open market.

"I was a little disappointed, honestly," Byrd said. "But I was hoping that, 'OK, there will be a resolution to this.' Just being honest, that was my initial feeling. But I did think that just initially it was going to take a while, but there would be a resolution to it."

The Bills and Byrd had until July 15 to reach an agreement on a multiyear contract. That didn't happen. After that date, franchise-tagged players could sign only a one-year deal.

Byrd was asked if he thought he could prove to the Bills how much he's worth with another great season.

Byrd was stone-faced.

"Do I want to prove to them anything?" Byrd said. "I guess in four years if I didn't, I don't know what I can do, you know what I'm saying? Their mindset is what it is.

"I just have to go out there and focus on football and just help this team in any way possible."

Byrd also pointed out the Bills will have control over him next year if they choose "because there's a thing called the franchise tag again." The Bills would be able to franchise him next year for $8.29 million.

Byrd went to his second Pro Bowl in four seasons last year. He led the Bills with five interceptions and four forced fumbles. He tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries.

He is the team's top returning tackler with 53 solos and 23 assists. Five tackles were for losses.

Byrd was asked if he felt stuck in Buffalo.

"Do I feel stuck here?" he replied. "I'm just here. You know what i'm saying? I'm here, playing football."


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 |