New Orleans, La. (WVUE) - The Saints announced the signing of 3-time All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd, formerly of the Bills, on Tuesday and Wednesday, he addressed the media.
The following are Byrd's comments to the media, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
When did the Saints get in touch with you? Was it right off the bat, March 8? How quickly did this thing come together for you to end up in New Orleans?
"Once the time for teams to contact agents and stuff like that, that was loud. I knew there was some interest but I really didn't know what was going to happen, I left that up to my agent and he kind of sorted everything out through all the teams. I was able to come here and that is kind of how it all started."
What did you like about the Saints when you visited and what made you choose them?
"It's the winning coaches. What Coach Payton has done and what Drew Brees have done here, any time you have that explosive offense it always helps when you are a guy on defense and a team is able to get leads on people, (and) jump out to early leads, that bodes well for a guy like me who wants to get turnovers and create turnovers because it makes another team one-dimensional. That is a really big factor and what allowed me to weigh all of my options and think about the best situation for myself."
What do you make of Rob Ryan's defense?
"Just from the defensive side, I see it is really aggressive. They do a lot of different things. I don't want to say too much because I haven't really had a chance to get in detail with Coach Ryan and everybody about the ins and outs of the defense. I don't really know. I just had conversations. That's really all I can really say is just from watching it that it seems aggressive and attacking."
How much do you know about Kenny Vaccaro?
"I know he was a first round pick last year and from everything that I have heard he is a really good player. I am looking forward to playing with him. I really look forward to seeing what he does really well. When he played against us (Bills) he made a lot of plays. Everything I've heard is that he is a really good player so I look forward to watching him on film and stuff like that. It will be a really exciting thing to be back there with him."
With you agreeing to terms so quickly, was it pretty much a done deal when you got here?
"No I don't really know. I leave that up to Eugene (Parker), my agent and the contract negotiator Kai (Harley) here, they know that. I don't know the details about when it was all done or what is going on with that or the status of that. All I know is that I am here and things are good."
Were you sold on the Saints before you hopped on the plane?
"Well I was scheduled for a visit. That's why I came here to check everything out, (and) to meet with the coaches. That's why I was scheduled for a visit."
Did you get to make a choice of where you wanted to visit first? Did you say that you'd like to check this place out first among other options?
"I got to make the choice, yes. It's something that I sought counsel with my agent. We talked about it. It was something we talked about before."
What do you think about an offensive-minded team like the Saints making this commitment to the defense? People have said that this is a copy-cat league and perhaps teams are trying to be like Seattle.
"I don't want to speak for the team; everyone has their reasons. Any time you can have the defense they had here last year and have an offense that's already potent and explosive, it's kind of like a yin and yang. They work off of each other. Anytime you have that explosive offense, you're going to need a defense that holds things down because you need both. In this league, especially with everyone getting better, you're can't just blow everybody out by a bunch of points. I think it's just something that is necessary, that's needed. You always want to have a good defense to support a great offense."
How are you, health-wise?
"I feel great. I feel really good. I'm already working out in Miami, so I'm there training and things like that already. No problems at all."
There was a quote circulating yesterday about you saying that New Orleans had the best home atmosphere. How much did that factor into your decision?
"That was big. Playing here last year, I saw how the atmosphere was. It was electric. They were really behind their team. The Dome was rocking when I was here, and they feed off that. I think that's really big. Anytime you're playing – especially in football – defense, you always want to have that crowd noise…and it's big."
The only knock on this defense last year was the lack of takeaways. Is that an area in which you can make an immediate impact?
"Yes. That's what I pride myself on being able to do is create turnovers whether it's interceptions, forced fumbles, whatever it might be. That's something I'm looking forward to coming in here and doing, just doing what I normally do, and that's what I do."