Looking to stick
Drafted in the third round by the St. Louis in 2006, Byrd, 27, has yet to stick with an NFL team after stops with the Rams and Arizona, including two years totally out of the league in 2008 and last year.
At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Byrd has shown flashes of being a legitimate receiving threat at tight end position during training camp, but will have to prove it once preseason play begins next week.
So has Byrd’s familiarity with Carroll at USC helped with the transition to Seattle?
“Not really,” he said. “I mean I know his style. Coach Carroll is a very enthusiastic guy. But as far as transitioning, it’s about coming into camp and being one of the guys. It’s great to be back in football, and you’ve got to be back in the groove and get right back into the playbook. And knowing Coach Carroll doesn’t help me study, so that’s really my focus.”
Not just a pass catcher
His size, good hands and speed would seem to indicate that Seattle will use the Byrd more in the passing game, but Byrd said he seeks to be an all-around player.
“I’m working on everything,” Byrd said. “As tight ends, we have to be able to block. We have to be able to run routes. We have to be able to line up in the backfield sometimes. So it’s kind of a position where we can’t let anything slack. So you can’t really play to your strengths, because one time I might be lined up on the line, the other time I might be in the backfield motioning. So everything’s important.”
Byrd joins fellow Trojans defensive back Josh Pinkard, receiver Mike Williams, linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan and fellow tight end Anthony McCoy as USC products joining Carroll in Seattle.
“It’s great to see my Trojans out here,” he said. “It’s one big family. I was in L.A. in the offseason and seen a lot of guys, so again that helps some with the transition just to know some guys here. But as soon as you get into camp, the guys that are in the room become your boys, too. And with Anthony McCoy in the room that’s been great, too. Fight on.”
A team in transition
Team leaders Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu are gone. And with only 16 players left from Seattle’s 2009 team that Carroll and general manager John Schneider inherited when they took over two years ago, Byrd hopes to be a part of this team’s new vision.
“Every year a team has to take on a new identity,” he said. “And as you go through camp, as you go through each one of these practices, every person shows their personality, and shows what kind of player they can be.
“So it’s kind of a proving ground for everybody. So since this is a new year, we’re still looking to find that identity, and all we know now is that we’re going to come out here, practice hard, service each other’s teams, and the leaders take care of themselves.”