On this episode of the future award-winning Talking Buffalo Podcast, Patrick Moran has a chat with former San Diego Chargers star and team Hall of Famer, Gill Byrd on a wide variety of topics spanning his life and career.
Gill talks about growing up as a child in the San Francisco area, originally into judo as a kid in lieu of football. In fact, he didn’t even start playing football until at least 12 years and only did so to feel more involved in family conversations about the sport. He became a star running back and defensive back and Lowell High School but didn’t receive any scholarships because of his smallish size. He walked onto to San Jose State and five years later would transform himself into a first-round pick.
In fact, Byrd was selected 22nd overall in the 1983 NFL draft by the Chargers, largely considered the greatest collection of first-round talent in the history of the league. Byrd was on a list of first-rounders that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, Bruce Matthews, Darrell Green and Dan Marino.
Byrd talks, quite candidly about how he was verging on being a “bust” early on his NFL career, struggling while moving around the defensive backfield and how it took an injury to a teammate to really jumpstart what was becoming a mediocre career. From there he became a multi-time All-Pro and during his 10-year career finished with 42 interceptions, still to this day the most in franchise history. Byrd talks about that, picking Elway off nine times, what it was like to play with Junior Seau, and what it’s meant to him to be inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1998.
Of course, many Bills fans hear the last name Byrd and immediately think of Jairus. Gill’s son was a second-round pick by the Bills in 2009 and had one of the better rookie campaigns in franchise if not league history, picking off nine passes his first year. Gill recalls his emotion as a dad seeing Jairus follow his dreams to the NFL and the success he had in Buffalo.
Gill would later spend a year in the Bills organization himself as the secondary coach in 2017. He discusses that year, the season the Bills would end their 17-year playoff drought and what it felt like to be fired after one year despite coaching one of the better performing secondaries in the NFL— a unit that included a rookie in Tre White and two safeties new to the organization, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Byrd offers his thoughts on respecting Sean McDermott’s decision and his relationship with Leslie Frazier.
Well beyond football, Byrd spends time talking about the importance of church, the significant difference between racism and prejudice, teamwork, inclusion and much more.
As always they end with the Fun Fact Finale and we find out many random things about Byrd, including his go-to snack, his worst habit, what he thinks he would’ve done with his life had football not worked, his favorite TV game show and much more.
Byrd is constantly speaking to gatherings, whether it’s motivational sports or corporate gatherings. If you’d like more information or would like to reach out to him about anything, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Patrick Moran on Twitter @PatMoranTweets.
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