By Mark Gaughan
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced fully today at One Bills Drive and said afterward he's exciting about making his season debut against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
Here's the transcript of his interview in the locker room:
Q: Coach Marrone said you looked good and you’ll be playing Sunday. Your thoughts? A: Yeah, definitely, I agree with what he said.
I do feel I’m back as far as just my body now the rest is just mental, getting out there.
Q: What do you feel about your return? A: A lot of excitement. This is what I’ve always wanted to do from Day One. 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.
Q: How do you react to those who doubt your desire to get back as soon as possible? A: I don’t honestly. I understand it’s part of this game. That’s part of the NFL. People are going to critique and give their opinion, and I’m fine with that. I know what I stand for. I’m confident in myself. It is what it is.
Q: What do you expect from yourself Sunday? Effort. It’s my first time being out there. I’m going to give it all I got. I understand the position I’m in due to my injury, that I have a lot to catch up. I’m going to give effort wherever I can help the team. That’s where I’m going to go.
Q: Did you understand Doug Marrone’s decision to hold you out vs. Cleveland? A: I did. When he explained it to me – that’s one thing I will give Coach Marrone, he definitely took me aside and explained everything to me – his thought process. So hat’s off to him for that. I understood. After he explained to me. As a competitor you want to be out there.
Q: Can you put the past, the contract talks, behind you? A: Yeah, I mean mentally, that’s over with. We’ve just got to win games now. It’s all about winning games. I just want to help the team win. I’ve been with these guys a long time. My four years here have been some tough times. So I just want to win. We’ve got to win.Q: Are you aware a lot of fans wonder about your injury. Your reaction or your desire to respond? A: Of course, human nature you want to say something. But at the end of the day I just realize it’s part of this game. They’re entitled to their own opinion. I understand why they would be upset. But I’m completely confident in myself and I know where I stand, my character and what another person says about me isn’t going to change how I know that I am.
Q: Do you feel you have to prove something to fans? A: No, not at all. I just need to go out there and play my game.
Q: And that’ll win them back over, do you think? A: I’m not trying to win them back over. I’m just trying to go out there and play my game and do what we can to win games for these guys in the locker room that have played hard and that I’ve been with for four years. That’s what we’re going to try to do, go win games.
Q: Think it’ll take a series to get back to game speed? A: I don’t know honestly. It’s been awhile. All I can control is my effort and what I do. I understand the position I’m in given the time I missed. I’m just going to try to give max effort. … I’m looking forward to just going out there and being with my teammates on Sunday and getting this thing started with a win.