Tonawanda News

Bills

November 27, 2013

Bills' Byrd 'open-minded' about future in Buffalo

Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — Bills safety Jairus Byrd has gone from being noncommittal to open-minded in softening his outlook about his future in Buffalo.

Though far from ready to commit to signing a long-term contract on Tuesday, the two-time Pro Bowl player — for the first time this season — wasn't ruling out the possibility, either.

"Sure, anything can happen. You never want to close the door to anything," Byrd said. "I'm just keeping my mind open."

That's a big step forward for Byrd. As recently as three months ago, he was sidestepping questions about whether he wanted to be traded, and expressing disappointment over the team's decision to apply a one-year franchise tag in March.

"I don't want to go back and re-track where I was," Byrd said. "But at this point, all I can answer is you asked me how I felt right now, and I'm open-minded."

Byrd was careful to point out the decision is not entirely his, noting the Bills will have a say in the matter once the two sides are allowed to open talks following the season.

"It's not totally up to me," he said. "I can't say, 'Yeah, I'm going to be here' or whatever. It's great to say I'm open-minded, which I am, but that's really as far as I can go."

The Bills haven't wavered in their desire to re-sign Byrd, and haven't ruled out the possibility of applying the franchise tag once more this offseason. The question remains whether the two sides can find a common ground after failing to reach a deal this past year.

In retaining Byrd's rights, the Bills failed to lock him up to a long-term contract. Byrd missed nearly the entire offseason before signing his one-year, $6.9 million franchise tender in late August.

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