Since undergoing a procedure to take of a non-football injury last week, Bills free safety Jairus Byrd has been recovering off the St. John Fisher campus away from his teammates. In an effort to show he hasn't been forgotten Buffalo's entire secondary went to visit him this past Sunday.
"He was in his room watching the Little League World Series so when we came in it kind of surprised him because he didn't know we were coming," said cornerback Drayton Florence. "So it helped him get through the rest of the day a bit better."
The Bills secondary is a tight-knit group of players, some of which have played together the past four seasons, and almost all of them were part of the team's very successful 2009 campaign when the defense finished second in the league interceptions.
The ringleader of that interception brigade was Byrd who had nine last season to tie for the league lead. His on field exploits landed him an AFC Pro Bowl nod as a rookie. Despite his most recent setback, Byrd's teammates say he's not discouraged or feeling sorry for himself at all.
"He's not down," said Florence. "You've got a guy like Jairus Byrd, it's going to take a lot more than that to slow him down."
But the players do believe their surprise visit lifted his spirits.
"We could tell he genuinely appreciated it," said Donte Whitner. "He was just happy to see us. He talked to all of the guys and told us how much he appreciated us being there."
Byrd's father, former Pro Bowl Chargers cornerback Gill Byrd also happened to be visiting his son the same day the Bills secondary stopped by. The elder Byrd is the assistant defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears, but he was able to get away for a day to see his son with Chicago's training camp breaking the day before.
"His dad came down to be with him, so we talked to Jairus and his dad a little bit," said Florence. "We just wanted to let him know that we miss him out here at camp and hope he gets back out here soon."
Although Byrd was the takeaway leader for the secondary last season, he's still a young player in the defensive backs meeting room. His more experienced teammates admit there's a different feel during meetings without him there.
"We do miss him, just having him in the room, asking questions," said Whitner. "We can't wait until he gets back."
However, none of Byrd's teammates seem too concerned with the time Byrd has missed during his recovery. They know he missed all of OTAs and minicamp in the spring last year along with a good portion of training camp and still had a Pro Bowl season. They're confident he'll be able to rebound again.
"He's going to be alright," said Whitner. "He'll be back soon and I'm sure he'll fit right back in."