Sitting in the stands at Ralph Wilson Stadium during the first quarter of the Buffalo Bills' 35-13 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions, my father tapped me on the shoulder and asked a simple question: "Why isn't Jairus Byrd down there with his teammates?"
I scanned the sidelines quickly between plays looking for Byrd in street clothes. When I came up empty, I muttered something about a roster exemption and moved onto the next play of the shellacking.
As it turns out, Byrd wasn't even in the building - he's out of state, seeking a second opinion on a sore foot. It's the same mystery ailment, and the same methodology, that pass rusher Mario Williams used when the Bills opened training camp in late July.
"His foot was sore," Bills head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after the game Thursday night. "We wanted to make sure we sent him down to Dr. Anderson... It's not a concern until Dr. Anderson says something."
Byrd only returned to the team late last week after signing his one-year franchise tender, and took part in his first practice of the season on Monday. It's not yet clear if his sore foot will affect his availability for Week 1, but it will certainly slow down the assimilation process as he feels out a new coaching staff and learns another new defense.