NFL notes: Bills’ Jairus Byrd will return amid trade speculation

Bills general manager Doug Whaley is more eager to see Jairus Byrd make his season debut this weekend than to try to project the two-time Pro Bowl safety’s future in Buffalo.

Whaley told the AP Thursday that while he is not actively shopping Byrd, the Bills would listen to offers.

‘‘Our focus right now is Jairus getting on the field and playing the best he can for the Buffalo Bills,’’ Whaley said. ‘‘We are not actively on the phone hammering out trying to look for a trade. By the same token, [team president] Russ Brandon would listen if someone wanted to trade.


‘‘So if the phone rings, we’re going to listen. But that doesn’t mean we’re out trying to trade.’’

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Whaley stressed the same rule applies to any player on the roster with the NFL trading deadline approaching Oct. 29.

As for Byrd’s future, Whaley didn’t entirely rule out the possibility of the Bills re-signing the fifth-year player once his one-year franchise tag expires after this season.

‘‘Absolutely, I mean there’s always a possibility,’’ Whaley said. ‘‘It’s one of those things where you can never say never. Will he be on the team? We hope so.’’

The immediate future for Whaley is Byrd preparing to make his long-awaited season debut on Sunday, when the Bills (2-3) host the Cincinnati Bengals (3-2).


Byrd is set to play after he missed the entire offseason because of a contract dispute, and the first five games of the season because of plantar fasciitis in both feet.

Garrard back with Jets

David Garrard slipped on a black T-shirt before he walked over to his new spot in the Jets’ locker room, and the words printed in green on front said it all. ‘‘SOME THINGS JUST WON'T RETIRE.’’ The veteran quarterback tried it for a few months, and retirement didn’t suit him. Especially with his balky left knee feeling healthy again for the first time in a while. ‘‘I didn’t want to turn 50, look back, and be that guy that said, ‘What if I just called somebody?’ ’’ Garrard said Thursday after his first practice back with the Jets. ‘‘I’m glad I did.’’ The 35-year-old Garrard was removed from the reserve-retired list and placed on the exempt list, meaning he is eligible to practice and attend meetings. With Mark Sanchez out for the season with a shoulder injury, Garrard gives the Jets a veteran backup for rookie Geno Smith. Garrard, who signed with New York in March before leaving because of knee trouble in May, will be on the exempt list for two games . . . Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson returned to the practice field but his status is still uncertain. “I don’t have any updates on him,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. ‘‘You guys saw what you saw.’’ Johnson was inactive in a loss at Green Bay last weekend because of an injured right knee. Johnson didn’t participate in every drill, but he did do some footwork and pass-catching exercises . . . Buccaneers guard Carl Nicks is being treated for an MRSA staph infection in his left foot for the second time this season, general manager Mark Dominik confirmed. “I will say that reports that you’ve heard are accurate, that this is a recurrence for Carl Nicks of the MRSA.’’ . . . The Colts will pay tribute to Peyton Manning when he returns to Indianapolis next week. Manning set franchise records for attempts, completions, yards, touchdown passes, and wins in Indianapolis before being released in March 2012 and signing with the Broncos.