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Jairus Byrd won't rule out Bills return but laments 'not being able to see it through'

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Is it possible Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd could wear a Buffalo Bills uniform again next year?

Although he seemed to send out mixed signals, Byrd did claim in separate interviews with ESPN today he could re-sign with the Bills despite their inability to hammer out a long-term deal over the past 13 months.

The Bills declined to use their franchise tag on Byrd for a second straight year, shepherding him toward unrestricted free agency. He can begin speaking with the NFL's 31 other teams Saturday and can sign a contract as early as Tuesday.

The Bills might find it difficult to compete on the open market. Several clubs with money to spend could use Byrd in their defensive backfields, too.

But Byrd declared he hasn't ruled out a return to Buffalo.

"The door is not closed on anything," Byrd told ESPN.com reporter Mike Rodak. "I'm not closing the door on any opportunities at all. The lines of communication are still open."

Byrd delivered additional comments that sounded more ominous by expressing disappointment things couldn't be worked out with Buffalo.

"This is new to me," Byrd said of unrestricted free agency, a process he was unable to go through last year because the Bills tagged him. "I've never experienced this. I'll just kind of take it in stride and see what happens.

"You could say this is what I've been waiting for, but in an ideal situation, you want to finish up something that you start. Unfortunately that wasn't able to happen, so now we're here. Just looking for the next step."

Byrd also said, "When you get drafted somewhere and you invest a lot of time in something, you want to see it through. That was part of the disappointment of not being able to see it through."

  • Mike Michaels

    He's saying all the PC things but he is gone.

  • Darcy Pegula

    Despite the alleged foot injury going into last season, you can now actually see the smoke off his heels as he sprints away from Buffalo and toward a better team and better place to live than Buffalo.

  • Hal Jam

    He'll go to a worse, more desperate team if he's going to get the money he wants. It sounds like the Bills offered him way too much. I'm glad he didn't take it. Bills don't need a $10m a year safety.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.