Jairus Byrd was noticeably absent when the New Orleans Saints opened their first practice to the media on Thursday, but unlike most no-shows at OTAs, Byrd was not absent over a contract dispute, bur rather the big-money free-agent was undergoing back surgery to .
“He’s having a surgical procedure on his back for a disc,” Saints head coach Sean Payton tells The Times-Picayune. “It’s been asymptomatic but it’s something we wanted to do, and he as well, to alleviate any issues coming in the fall. He’ll be back here in a week. For this next week, he won’t be at these OTAs, he’ll be going through his rehab.”
Payton expects the team’s big free agent splash to be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July and says the operation was optional and done so to prevent the issue from lingering into the regular season.
“We felt like it would be something that would prevent any issues in the fall,” Payton said. “He didn’t have any pain, but it was something we wanted to handle, especially with his position.”
Expect the team to be extremely cautious with the former Buffalo Bills All-Pro safety who was signed by the Saints to a six-year, $54 million deal with $26 in guaranteed money on the first day of free agency.
The addition of Byrd to line up next to former first round pick Kenny Vaccaro could rival the Seattle Seahawks, who eliminated the Saints in last year’s playoffs, as owners of the best safety duo in the NFL.