Butch Byrd was a key member of the AFL-era Buffalo Bills after being drafted in the fourth round of the 1964 AFL Draft (No. 25 overall). On this date 40 years ago, the Bills parted ways with Byrd at the age of 30, trading him to the Denver Broncos.
Byrd began his career in Buffalo by being named to five AFL All-Star teams and three All-AFL teams in six years. He made a living picking off errant passes, tallying 40 in his seven seasons in Buffalo. He returned five of those picks for touchdowns, and also forced ten fumbles (recovering four).
He had started 143 straight games for the Bills and become their all-time leading interception leader, but the Bills shipped him to Denver for the Broncos' fifth-round pick in 1972. The Bills turned that pick into guard Bob Penchion from Alcorn State, who played two years in Buffalo. (Another former Bills lineman, Conrad Dobler, was selected two picks later and had a much more successful NFL career.)
Byrd helped Buffalo win an AFL Championship in 1964 and 1965 as part of a stingy and heralded secondary filled with Wall of Famers George Saimes and Booker Edgerson. In this writer's opinion, Byrd stands an excellent chance of being added to the Wall in the very near future.
He played one season in Denver before retiring. Byrd's 40 career interceptions still stands as the most in Bills history, as do his interception return yards (666) and interception return touchdowns (5).