Wednesday August 20th, 2014

New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd went through full-contact team drills for the first time on Tuesday and is expected to make his preseason debut with the Saints on Saturday, according to ESPN.com.

Byrd signed a six-year, $54 million deal with the Saints in March, then underwent back surgery in May. 

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The 27-year-old entered training camp on the PUP list and had been practicing on a limited basis for the last three weeks. 

"This is an important game, because he hasn't been able to play in the first two," Saints coach Sean Payton said of Saturday. "Now, we'll be smart with the reps we give him and the amount we give him, but I don't think you can just throw the ball out there and play."

Byrd spent the last five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, making the Pro Bowl three times. In 2013, he missed the preseason and the first five weeks due to plantar fasciitis in his foot, but returned to make four interceptions and 48 tackles. 

- Molly Geary

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