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Saints Roster Countdown 2014: #31 Jairus Byrd

The New Orleans Saints are off of training camp practices and on the way to St. Louis for their first preseason game, with 90 players competing for the right to wear black and gold in September. And here at CSC, we're counting down the days until the Saints regular season by taking a brief look at the roster. Today we check out #31 (S) Jairus Byrd!

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.

Today, we take a brief look at safety Jairus Byrd.

So, with no more ado:


#31 S Jairus Byrd (6th Year, 1st with Saints)

At the start of this year's offseason, the New Orleans Saints signed unrestricted free agent Jairus Byrd, a sixth-year safety who is expected to make a huge impact in the Saints secondary.  He had just finished a year-long contract with the Buffalo Bills, who had used their Franchise Tag to lock him in for the 2013 season.

A second round draft pick by Buffalo out of Oregon in 2009, Byrd became a starter at free safety as a rookie and made an immediate impact.  Having tied for the NFL lead with a club rookie-record nine interceptions, he was named as a consensus All-Rookie selection.  He was also the fourth Buffalo rookie in history selected to the Pro Bowl.

In his standout rookie campaign, Jairus became the first player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to record three consecutive multi-interception games.  In his first five years in the NFL, the San Diego native has been selected to a total of three Pro Bowls and has appeared in 73 games with 66 starts overall.  His career totals currently sit at 352 tackles (256 solo), three sacks, 22 picks, 33 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.  His interception total since 2009 is ranked second in the NFL.

Last year, Byrd appeared in 11 games with nine starts, and finished the season with 48 tackles (37 solo), one sack, four interceptions (tied for the team lead and fourth in the AFC), six passes defensed and one forced fumble.  Despite a foot injury that sidelined him for the season’s first five games, he shook it off enough to earn his third Pro Bowl selection, and was named an Associated Press second-team All-Pro.

Until last Tuesday, the phenomenal safety -- who began training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list -- did not participate in any offseason practices after undergoing back surgery.  He has been eased into practices over the past week and a half, and expects to be ready for the regular season, though neither he nor the Saints staff want to push him so hard and so quickly as to jeopardize his future.

Even if Byrd's recent back surgery doesn't lead to unexpected complications, the fact that he has missed workouts and practices for the majority of the offseason and preseason may make it difficult for the star safety to live up to the incredibly lofty expectations swirling throughout the Who Dat Nation.  However, there is no doubt that he will team with Kenny Vaccaro to form one of the most imposing safety duos in the league, even if the former Buffalo Bills standout doesn't fully peak again for another season or two.

6 yr(s) / $54,000,000. Average: $9,000,000 per year through 2019.