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Jairus Byrd avoids trade talk, reveals both feet hurting him

By Tim Graham

ByrdMugPro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd declared he's focused only on playing for the Buffalo Bills and declined to address Mark Gaughan's trade report in this morning's Buffalo News.

Byrd also revealed he has plantar fasciitis in both feet and has been dealing with the condition since last season.

Byrd was limited in practice for a second straight day and his status for Sunday's season opener against the New England Patriots is uncertain.

So, too, is his long-term future with the Bills. Once again, Byrd declined to refute the notion he wants to play elsewhere. Gaughan, citing two league sources, reported today that Byrd's agent, Eugene Parker, is trying to work out a trade by the deadline.

"I really don't want to speak on anything as far as that," Byrd said. "I'm here to focus on the team and playing football.

"That would be something for my agent to handle that side and talk about that more. But right now, I'm just focused on my feet, getting healthy and giving these guys the best chance to win Sunday against the Patriots."

Byrd was asked to describe his working relationship with Bills General Manager Doug Whaley.

"I don't know. A working relationship?" Byrd replied. "That's what it is, what you just said. A working relationship, I guess.

"I don't want to get into all that. I mean, I'm an employee of the Buffalo Bills. He's the general manager. There you have it. We're here to win games."

Byrd, speaking with reporters in front of his locker stall, suggested his relationship with the front office won't impact his loyalty to teammates.

"I've been here, and we haven't won too many games," Byrd said. "This is a new year, and a year to start it off on the right foot. My goal is to help in whatever way I can to get this team going and help win games.

"As far as the organization, I can't speak on that. That's for another day, another time. That's why I have an agent. I'm trying to get ready to play football."

Although Byrd passed the Bills' physical when he signed his franchise tender two weeks ago, he said he has been dealing with plantar fasciitis since last season. He appeared on the Week 16 injury report with a foot issue.

About 45 minutes earlier, Byrd was one of the last players off the practice field. He chased passes from the JUGS machine in the field house while coach Doug Marrone held his daily news conference nearby.

Marrone said he has liked what he has seen from Byrd so far.

"In regards to Jairus' situation -- from my standpoint as a head coach -- he's out here right now, working," Marrone said. "He's been working like heck on the field.

"He knows what we're doing defensively, and he's been a great teammate helping everyone. So he's been a great pro, and that's what I evaluate it on is how he's doing for us in the locker room, on the field.

"So I have zero complaints with what he's doing. As a matter of fact ... I see a player that's trying to get on this field, and it's just not feeling right, and I go back to the same thing where the condition is at. Jairus and I talk daily. I think it's going to be one of these situations where one day he's going to wake up and he's going say, 'I feel great,' and he's going to go."


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 |