The Bills were eager to welcome back franchise player Jairus Byrd with open arms. After rejoining the team late last week the Pro Bowl safety spoke for the first time the entire offseason.
Byrd, who was looking forward to free agency this offseason, never got the opportunity to test the market as the Bills tagged him as their franchise player. No long term contract agreement was reached by the two parties prior to the July 15th deadline leaving just the one-year franchise tender as Byrd's only option with Buffalo.
"It's just the business side, it's what I've learned," said Byrd. "It's disappointing, but it's just business. At the end of the day, it is what it is. That's the business side of things. They see things one way, we see it another way. You let your agent handle things like that. Now I'm back here. It's just football."
Byrd practiced with his teammates for the first time since signing the one-year franchise tender guaranteeing him $6.9M in salary for 2013.
"Right now we have him, we worked him out before the Washington game," said head coach Doug Marrone. "I think today you saw we worked him during individual and we just worked him back in. This week if things go well we'd like to work him into some of the team stuff."
Marrone said he probably will not dress Byrd for the final preseason game against Detroit Thursday, but said the team is glad to have him back in the locker room.
"I think it's great to have him back," he said. "The players are excited. He's played with a lot of these guys and played at a very high level. To be back with the team I'm sure it's comforting to both sides. I'm sure it's comfortable for Jairus to be back with his teammates. He's a true pro. He really is a professional in how he handles himself. I think he's probably in a comfortable place being around his teammates, which he cares about and they care about him."
As for the season opener the safety wasn't sure where his availability would stand in 13 days.
"How long have I missed? I missed a good amount," said Byrd. "I don't know. Only time will tell. I have missed a lot of time, so we'll see. "
When asked if he or his agent had requested a trade, the safety would not broach the subject.
"I'm going to just leave the private matters, the business side, between us," he said. "I don't really want to comment on other things. I'll let Coach Marrone talk more about the team aspect of what they're doing upstairs, if you want to talk to Doug. I'm not in that position to talk about that stuff."
Byrd has sat down with Marrone since his arrival and seems to like what the new head coach is trying to build in Buffalo.
"Coach Marrone has changed this thing around here, he's done a great job," said Byrd. "I'm not trying to be a distraction at all to his team, it's his team, and I'm going to let him do what he does. They're off to a great start. The team is off to a great start. So I'm just trying to be quiet and learn how he wants to do things. I just have to go out there and focus on football and help this team any way possible."