"This is my third time going through the process of tearing my ACL," said Byrd. "It feels good to be back out here with my teammates. I haven't been out there for a long time... since tearing my ACL in the fifth game against Wake Forest.
"To miss spring ball and come back now. It's like a dream come true. It seems like God has had my back the whole time."
Byrd is nearly ready to go. He has been doing some light work and has a tentative timeframe in place for when he hopes to be fully cleared for action.
"I'm not full go," he said. "I'm limited. I'll be limited in shoulder pads... I'm not tackling yet, but as far as 7-on-7s I'm able to do some of that."
"Hopefully it will be a couple of weeks. It's close. They are being smart with me... easing me in slowly. They don't want to rush it. We want to prevent another injury as much as possible. They want to see me on film and see how I can react and move right now."
When Byrd isn't participating he's taking on another role: leader. He is extremely vocal and has been helping State's younger, inexperienced safeties in a variety of ways.
Last year NC State lacked depth at the position when Byrd went down, but after redshirting a few players and adding others in the 2014 recruiting class, the depth needed for competition is there.
"We're going to have a lot more depth," Byrd said. "We have a lot of good young players... guys like Josh Jones, Germaine Pratt, and Shawn Boone. To have depth, it's a good thing because you can replace injured players with more talent.
"Depth is important to any team, whether it's NC State or the Baltimore Ravens."
The increased depth isn't noticeable at just safety... NC State has added additional numbers at every position. For Byrd, that's a reason why he is optimistic that there will be improvement on the defensive side of the ball... but it isn't the only reason.
"We're more confident," he stated. "Guys out here, we're hyped and excited to practice. The guys are communicating more and playing with more confidence. They seem to know what to do, and that has carried over from the spring."