Saints safety Jairus Byrd wore pads and took the field Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing a surgery to repair a problematic disk in his back in late May. Byrd was sidelined for all offseason practices as well as minicamp in June while he recovered.
Byrd’s first work on the field with the Saints since joining them on a six-year, $54 million free-agent deal in March was lining up with the 1s on defense in a walkthrough. He hinted at his return in a message on Twitter early Tuesday, writing to his followers, “Thankful for this day… Be blessed.”
It was the first tweet Byrd himself wrote since July 20.
After making the NFL as a second-round draft choice by Buffalo in 2009, Byrd leads all NFL safeties with 22 interceptions. The Saints hope he helps them generate more turnovers on defense — their 19 takeaways last year were the fourth-fewest in the NFL.
In other injury news, Saints receiver Robert Meachem was back in pads after sitting out Sunday and Monday in pads. Rookie sixth-round draft pick Tavon Rooks was also back in pads after missing the first four days of training camp with a hurt back that put him on the non-football injury list.
Neither left guard Ben Grubbs nor receiver Kenny Stills were back in pads yet.
Grubbs dressed out Sunday but mostly observed; he did not participate on Monday. Stills tweaked a quad Friday and has not returned to drills.
Nose tackle John Jenkins, who’s on the physically unable to perform list while reportedly recovering from pec surgery, is not in pads.
Lastly, after leaving practice early Sunday with cramps, rookie receiver Steve Hull was in pads and on the field.