<
>

Byrd lands on IR, could lose INT title

Jairus Byrd's season is over, and so might be his campaign for NFL defensive rookie of the year.

ByrdByrdThe Buffalo Bills on Wednesday ended Byrd's season by placing him on injured reserve. The reason wasn't disclosed, but the rookie safety has been playing with a groin injury for several weeks.

The injury could cost Byrd a lot of honors. He leads the NFL with nine interceptions, but without the ability add to his total, he could get caught from behind.

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper and Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson have eight interceptions apiece.

Being hurt also will hinder Byrd's chances for the top rookie award. He is in the mix with Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and Washington Redskins defensive lineman Brian Orakpo.

When it comes time to vote, they will have a greater body of work than Byrd does. Although Byrd has been a ball hawk, he isn't a complete player yet and particularly needs to be better against the run. The most notable accomplishment in Byrd's favor is that he's a league leader, but that might not be the case when ballots are cast.

But Byrd still deserves consideration for Bills MVP. The second-round draft choice out of Oregon has been one of the few glimmers during a desolate season, breaking the franchise record for rookie interceptions. The only other Bills player who could make a case is running back Fred Jackson.