Bills expect Jairus Byrd to play

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is expected to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday.

"We expect him to be able to play," Marrone said. "I'm really excited to see him back out there."

Marrone said he did not know if Byrd would start the game. During the opening portion of Wednesday's practice, the only part open to reporters, Byrd lined up in only some defensive packages.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Bills are now open to trading Byrd. Bills CEO Russ Brandon addressed the report on WGR 550 in Buffalo on Wednesday morning.

"I don't know where these reports come from," Brandon said. "We are not actively seeking a deal. It's the very same situation we talked about a month ago. It's not a topic of conversation in our building."

However, Brandon said they would listen to offers for any player.

"When someone calls us, we pick up the phone and answer it," he said.

The Bills have until Oct. 29 to trade Byrd.

Despite a contract dispute that led to Byrd not signing his franchise tender until late August, Marrone said Wednesday that he is not concerned with Byrd's mindset as he returns.

"I have no questions whatsoever on that. I don't think his mind was ever anywhere else other than getting himself better," Marrone said. "All I saw was a player coming back and just what I used to say -- and this wasn't a company line -- that the kid is working hard to get back."

Marrone maintained his stance that, as coach, he has blinders on to whatever else may be happening with Byrd behind the scenes.

"I never saw anything else except him working on the injury," he said. "I didn't see the business side of what was going on on the outside."

However, Marrone held Byrd out of last Thursday's game against the Cleveland Browns, despite Byrd telling coaches he was ready to play.

"When he explained it to me -- that's one thing I will give coach Marrone -- he definitely took me aside and explained everything to me, his thought process," Byrd said. "Hats off to him for that."

Prior to that game, Byrd received questions about whether his contact dispute led to him taking longer than needed to return to the field, and was asked Wednesday if he had any response, after the fact, to the criticism.

"Your human nature is that you want to say something," Byrd said. "At the end of the day, you just realize that it's part of this game. They're entitled to their own opinion. I realize why they would be upset. But I'm completely confident in myself and I know where I stand, my character, and what another person says about me isn't going to change who I am."

Byrd said he isn't trying to prove himself to fans when he returns Sunday.

"I'm not trying to win them back over again," he said. "I'm just trying to do what I can to win games with the guys who I've been with for four years."

Meanwhile, Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson missed practice Wednesday after suffering a back injury last Thursday. He also will sit out Thursday's session to attend a funeral in Sacramento, Calif., a league source told Schefter.

Johnson will be back for Friday's practice, and the team will have to see how he's feeling health-wise before determining whether he will play against Cincinnati, the source told Schefter.