Kevin Byard using Deion Sanders slight as motivation: “He threw me aside like I was a nobody”
Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard was a first-team All-Pro selection and was named to his first Pro Bowl last season after tying for the league lead with eight interceptions.
Nevertheless, Deion Sanders thought Byard was just a “fan” when he questioned Sanders’ statement that Tyrann Mathieu was “the best safety” in the game and not Byard or Harrison Smith, who landed on the AP All-Pro team.
Byard called Sanders out for his seeming obliviousness to whom he was speaking to and what he accomplished last season. Now Byard says he hopes to use the slight as continued motivation.
“I asked him a simple question of how he came up with the information on the best safety. He threw me aside like I was a nobody,” Byard said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com. “It just puts a bigger chip on my shoulder. I come from a situation where I’ve been ignored my whole life. Being a two-star prospect, having maybe five offers coming out, broke every school record at my school, and I was still talked about being a Day 3 or undrafted guy. In two years, I’m an All-Pro and Pro Bowler.”
Byard told ESPN that he has a screenshot of the tweet from Sanders saved as the backdrop on his phone’s lock screen to serve as a constant reminder.
“This just lets me know I still haven’t done nothing yet. It lets me know no matter what you’re doing in this league you gotta keep working until you don’t have to introduce yourself no more,” Byard said.