Bills Camp Football

Bills safety Jairus Byrd

While Bills rookie safety Jairus Byrd finally made his training camp debut Monday, the team was minus two veteran defensive backs who are nursing knee injuries.

Byrd, the first of Buffalo’s pair of second-round draft picks, took part in a walkthrough after being activated from the active/non-football-injury list. He missed the first 18 days of training camp — and two preseason games — after having surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Cornerback Drayton Florence was not present, and is expected to miss at least a week after spraining his knee in a 27-20 win over Chicago in a preseason game Saturday. Florence was hurt when he collided with teammate Ko Simpson.

Safety Bryan Scott is considered day to day after also hurting his knee Saturday. Reserve tight end Travis McCall, an undrafted rookie, is out indefinitely after hurting his left knee against the Bears.

For Byrd, he was eager to get on the field.

“It’s finally here. Now I’ve just got to hit the ground running,” said Byrd, who noted he felt no lingering effects of the surgery. “Right now it’s slow and steady, but as we crank it up, I’ll start moving kind of like a train: Start off and just pick up the pace.”

If all goes well, Byrd has an opportunity to get limited playing time in Buffalo’s preseason game at Green Bay on Saturday.

Byrd’s got plenty of catching up to do. Aside from the time he’s missed at training camp, Byrd was prevented from attending Buffalo’s spring minicamps because of Oregon’s late exam schedule. Byrd did take part in a three-day rookie minicamp in early May, and visited with Bills coaches in mid-June to go over the playbook.

“I know I’ve missed a lot. Just being on the field, this is the most important thing, being out here,” he said. “You can study as much, but out here is what you need.”

Byrd primarily played cornerback at Oregon, but is being asked by the Bills to make the switch to strong safety.

Upon drafting Byrd, the Bills had hoped he could compete with Scott for a starting job to open the season. But those expectations are on hold.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell intends to take things slow with Byrd.

“It’s good for us to have a chance to evaluate him,” Fewell said. “Let’s get his feet underneath him. Let’s let him get in the mix and give him some reps, but don’t overtax him.”

Receiver Terrell Owens did not attend the walkthrough, and continues to be listed day to day since spraining his toe in a 21-18 loss to Tennessee in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 9. Owens did post a note on his Twitter page that he hoped to start running by Monday night, when the Bills have a full practice.

Trending Video

Recommended for you