New Orleans Saints - TeamReport
NFL Team Report - New Orleans Saints - INSIDE SLANT
After missing the first four training camp practices while on the active/physically unable to perform list, free safety Jairus Byrd gave the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday their first glimpse of what he can give them.
Saints coach Sean Payton said last week when camp got underway that Byrd would be back "sooner rather than later," and Byrd made it happen when he got on the field with his new teammates for the first time.
While Byrd was limited to lining up during a walkthrough, he took part in skeleton drills and also fielded punts and may have helped allay some of the fears of fans who thought he might be a six-year, $54 million mistake.
Byrd wouldn't answer questions about the exact kind of surgery he had, but Payton said when the team announced that Byrd was having the surgery that it was a problematic disc and they wanted to have the procedure done to keep it from flaring up over the course of a long season.
"It's an issue that needed to be taken care of," Byrd said. "It's all I'll say."
The Saints believe the back won't be an issue since it was taken care of early and are ready to see the ball-hawking skills that Byrd bring to a team that was near the bottom of the NFL in takeaways despite ranking fourth in fewest yards allowed.
"Mentally, he's right there," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said of Byrd, who had 22 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries in his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. "If that ball hits his hands, he's going to catch it."
"It's not about me -- it's about our team, and I look forward to making an impact on this defense," Byrd said. "Whatever category that falls, whatever category that is, that's what I look forward to doing."
NFL Team Report - New Orleans Saints - NOTES, QUOTES
--Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he wasn't kidding at the outset of training camp when he said he wanted to play another 10 years -- which would take him to his 45th birthday.
The 35-year-old Brees, who takes pride in staying in top shape throughout the year with a grueling physical regimen, reiterated Tuesday that he thinks it can be done although he admitted it won't be easy.
"I'm serious ... I'm not delusional," he said. "I know that's something that would be extremely difficult to do. Not many have done it. ... It could be done, but a lot of things have to fall into place."
Obviously, his performance will have a lot to do with whether he has an opportunity to even give it a try. But Brees has shown that he enjoys a challenge, especially in trying to do something that hasn't been done.
"I know it's one year at a time. It's, 'What have you done for me lately?'" he said. "Why not push the envelope a little bit? It's certainly not going to be easy. I try to play this game like a kid. It is a serious business, and they don't keep you around if you don't play well."
--At the same time, Brees talked about the tweet he sent out after initially telling reporters of his desire to play another decade.
In the tweet, Brees joked that he was picked for a random drug test after his comments.