LaRon Byrd arrived in Berea Monday afternoon via Dallas. The former Cowboys receiver was claimed by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and met with reporters for the first time. Byrd gave a pretty convincing case for why the Browns might count on the 25-year-old sooner rather than later.
"I don't want to just be a guy on the roster," said Byrd. "I want to be a guy that contributes to the team. This is my job. I have to pick up [the offense] as fast as I can. So I'll be in the coaches ears. They'll probably be tired of me by the end of this week."
Byrd caught seven passes for 103 yards with a touchdown for Dallas during the 2014 preseason and was quick to praise the Cowboys for letting him showcase his talent. Because of Dallas' need for extra defensive players, Byrd got caught up in a numbers game once final cuts arrived.
"Having a solid preseason, I showed I belong in this league," said Byrd.
Byrd went undrafted from the University of Miami in 2012, but latched on with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent. He appeared in four games in 2012, playing mostly special teams, but was placed on injured reserve in August of 2013 because of a concussion. The Cardinals released Byrd in April and he soon thereafter signed with the Cowboys.
What separates Byrd from the other pass catchers on the Browns' roster is his height. At 6-foot-4, he and Miles Austin are the two biggest passing targets for Brian Hoyer. As cliché as it is, the one thing the Browns can't coach is size. Byrd listed his other strengths: his willingness to work, his deceptive speed, his blocking skills and his attitude.
"I've got that dog in me," said Byrd. "I don't take no for an answer. I'm not scared of competition. I go into the game with the mindset that I'm the best on the field. A lot of people may say, 'This guy hasn't even been in the league long.' But that's just my mindset and the belief I have in myself."
There will be an adjustment period for Byrd, who will be learning his third NFL offense in under a year. The Browns have to submit a 46-man roster 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Byrd is hopeful a crash course test on the offense will lead to him being on the turf at Heinz Field.
"It's the next-man-up mentality," said Byrd.