Great bloodlines: Byrd latest in Saints trend

If the NFL ever arranges some sort of father-son exhibition, the New Orleans Saints will dominate.

Newly signed safety Jairus Byrd is the latest in a wave of Saints acquisitions whose fathers also had standout careers in the NFL. Byrd’s father, Gill, was an outstanding defensive back with the San Diego Chargers from 1983-1993, with two Pro Bowl invitations and 42 career interceptions. Gill Byrd is now the cornerbacks coach with the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In recent years, the Saints have also drafted Mark Ingram (son of former NFL receiver Mark Ingram), Cameron Jordan (son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan), Nick Toon (son of former NFL receiver Al Toon) and Kenny Stills (son of former NFL defensive back Kenny Stills Sr.)

Gill Byrd, by the way, helped pave the way for his son’s blockbuster $54 million contract with the Saints in more ways than one. Byrd was one of the pioneers who successfully sued the NFL for free agency in the early 1990s.

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert reminded me of that when I was joking with him after the Byrd signing about how Hebert also fought the NFL at that time (and sat out an entire season) in hopes of making a $1 million salary.