WHITE SULPHER SPRINGS, WVa. -- Despite media reports earlier in the week that free safety Jairus Byrd would be ready for the start of training camp, the New Orleans Saints' prized acquisition in free agency was put on the physically unable to perform list Friday.
Saints coach Sean Payton said after the team's first practice of their three-week stay at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia that Byrd, who had surgery on May 29 to repair a damaged disc in his back, was given the PUP designation that limited him to working with trainers on the side while teammates practiced nearby.
But Payton said Byrd, who received a six-year, $54 million contract from the Saints on the first day of the free-agency signing period in March, will be back "sooner rather than later" and certainly before the team leaves West Virginia to return to their home base Aug. 14.
"We'll work day to day with him," Payton said. "I think the good news is that it's going to be sooner than later. I don't want to put a time on it, but his progress is ahead of schedule.
"We're still just getting it to where we feel it is 100 percent. ... Clearly, before we leave here, he'll be back on the roster."
Byrd wasn't at full speed, but he seemed to move well as he ran and did some backpedaling under the watchful eye of trainers.
While he's on the PUP list, Byrd cannot participate in team drills, but he can work with trainers on the side. He counts against the 90-man camp roster and can be activated at any time during training camp or exhibition season.
Byrd joined nose tackle John Jenkins, a second-year pro, on the PUP list.
While team officials have not commented on the nature of Jenkins' injury, it was reported earlier this summer that he had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for all of their organized team activities and veteran minicamp.