Byrd Officially Off to NFL

Saying it was fulfilling a life-long dream, Jairus Byrd today indicated that he had prayed upon the question and decided to enter the NFL draft.

"I met (last Wednesday) with the coaches and they had some last words from each of them, some things to think about, and I did," Byrd said of his decision making process. "But it was pretty much finalized when I filled out the papers."

Byrd has not yet hired an agent but feels he has a window of opportunity and now is the time. He felt that some may question if the timing is right, but he feels that he has reached the level where he is ready for the NFL and while he believes the Ducks are legitimate contenders for the BCS Championship, it is time for him to take the next step.

Where does he see himself going in the draft?

"First day, third round evaluation which doesn't mean much," admitted Byrd. "It's just a crapshoot. So my decision was based upon praying. I'm a Christian man so I just prayed a lot and felt it was the right thing to do."

His dad Gill Byrd, a veteran of the NFL, basically told his son Jairus that there was really no wrong decision. Jairus Byrd said that his dad essentially just listened to his son but did not urge him to decide one way or other.

Byrd also talked the decision over with Patrick Chung, who also faced a similar decision last year but decided to stay for his senior year. Byrd felt the difference between he and Chung was that Chung was healing from an injury that would have made it difficult to participate in the NFL combines. While Byrd has a slight groin injury that he is recovering from, the injury would not affect his performance in the combines.

Byrd also had high praise for the Duck defense and believes Oregon can achieve championship success.

"I think the team is reared and ready to go, I told the coaches that," said Byrd of his former team. "I told Coach Aliotti that the defense will be better next year."

Another question was brought up if the change in head coach at Oregon was a factor in his decision.

"I love both guys, they are great coaches you know, Coach Kelly and Bellotti," responded Byrd to questions regarding if the coaching change made a difference. "That had no part in my decision."

The one compelling reason to stay would be to finish the final two quarters before he earns his degree, and he does plan to finish those two quarters in the future.

A First Team All-Pac-10 performer at cornerback, Byrd was Oregon's fourth leading tackler with a total of 83 tackles (60 solos) and five interceptions. He also was credited with 14 pass break-ups, 19 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. As a punt return specialist, he had a total of 26 for 320 yards including one returned for a touchdown against Purdue for 87 yards.

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