Pittsford, N.Y. • Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley hasn't ruled out having newly re-signed safety Jairus Byrd sit out the regular-season opener.
Whaley told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he's awaiting word from the NFL whether the league will grant Buffalo an exemption for Byrd, which would free up a roster spot. And he didn't rule out having that exemption extend into the first week of the season, if necessary.
"An extra roster spot is always a good thing," Whaley said.
He described making the request "standard procedure," when involving a player such as Byrd, who has missed nearly the entire offseason because he was unsigned.
Byrd is finally under contract after the two-time Pro Bowl player signed his $6.9 million franchise tender on Tuesday night. Byrd, however, has yet to rejoin the team, and yet to pass a physical. He's expected to report by the end of the week.
If exempted, Byrd would not be paid and lose one-seventeenth of his salary if he's not on the active roster for the season opener against New England on Sept. 8.
One of the reasons Byrd signed this week was to avoid missing regular-season games. Byrd and the NFL Players Association could have the option to appeal the exemption if it extends into the regular schedule.