DON’T GET ME STARTED didn’t enjoy Jarius Byrd’s responses to questions in his first gabfest with the media.
I wrote a column for All Sports WNY about 10 days ago and figured that would take care of my view of Jarius Byrd who finally returned to the team after holding out of camp. Now he speaks to the media and, in essence, to the fans.
I thought there were enough “reading-between-the-lines” openings that didn’t sit well with these ears and Byrd seemed not to be a happy camper. Many speculated that Byrd continued to be disenchanted with the Buffalo Bills for putting the franchise tag on him.
My memory bank is full of Buffalo Bills players who always spoke positively of playing for the Bills in Buffalo; being positive about the fans. And yes, they had contract squabbles with the Bills that eventually were resolved.
It seems that Bruce Smith wanted to re-negotiate his contract every year. Stayed out of training camp for awhile, but I don’t recall Smith ever taking management to task as Byrd seems to be doing with his well chosen words to questions posed by the Buffalo media.
Byrd needs to contact the hall-of-famers like Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Marv Levy. It’s a shame he never got to know Kent Hull. How about a conversation with Andre Reed or Steve Tasker or Mark Kelso, a safety who toiled with the Bills. These are all-pro people – on and off the field. Kelly, Kelso, Thomas make Buffalo their permanent residence here.
Matt Leinart, who was picked up after injuries to two quarterbacks was the complete opposite of Byrd. Leinart said all the right things of “how happy he was to be here” and all the stuff that fans like to read and here. I wonder how Byrd feels after the Leinart press conference.
Here’s the message to Byrd. Quit the attitude you’re displaying over being a franchise player. If you want to have an argument with somebody – have it with your union. They’re the ones that agreed to a franchise tag clause in the collective bargaining agreement. Of course, anyone with that tag immediately gets a big raise for that season. Watching body language, with the chosen words, there seems to be an implication of anger against the Bills. The Bills had to protect their investment in Byrd. A few times Byrd used the word “business.” He has to realize that the Bills are in business of trying to get back in the playoffs, something that hasn’t happened since Byrd became a Bill..
I don’t remember Byrd mentioning that Russ Brandon of the Bills indicated that the goal is to sign Byrd to a long-term-deal after this season since they are prohibited from negotiating after July 15th. That time has passed.
How can anyone seem to be unhappy with making almost $7 million dollars this season? Let him reflect on those Bills that began with the team in the 60s who – maybe – got $15,000 for the entire season.
Byrd is making a ton of money and now he has to choose his words carefully? Again, it was nice that Leinart said nothing about great things about being in Buffalo and thank the Bills for giving him another chance to make it in the league.
When the word “trade” popped up, Byrd did some fancy side-stepping to the question. . It’s one of those between-the-lines things. Even though he indicated that he “doesn’t have much to prove” – it will be interesting to see what he does on the field.
The Bills hold the cards for the next 2 years. After this season, they can tattoo Byrd with yet another franchise tag – meaning he will make over $8 million dollars in the 2nd year if he signs the tender offer. Then again, if Byrd really is interested in moving to another team…..maybe the Bills could entertain that thought but ONLY if they would get a 1st round pick. Say, for instance, the Bills trade Byrd to Jacksonville – they would certainly be getting a pretty high pick in the draft. If he didn’t fetch a #1 pick – or more – then it would certainly show his value.
Oh well. I, along with fans, hope that Byrd has another pro-bowl season, helps the Bills greatly improve their record (and maybe even get into the playoffs.) Have another great season, get into good negotiations and if he gets his desired result, maybe he will say how glad he is to be a Buffalo Bill and how happy he is to be in Buffalo –– likes how much Ralph Wilson is paying him – and take a lesson from guys like Kelly, Smith, Thomas, Reed, Tasker, Kelso, Hull, and now Matt Leinart and so many others who praise the Bills and thank them for providing them with a great livelihood and how well they were treated by the Bills – and the fans on Don’t Get Me Started.
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