LaRon Byrd getting back in football mode

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
2:00
PM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- LaRon Byrd was on injured reserve last season with the Arizona Cardinals because of a concussion. He might as well have disappeared.

"It's mentally frustrating because you want to play football," Byrd said. "This is what you do. This is what you dream of being and being home watching it, that's the hardest part. But in a way it helps you because it regains your focus and it just shows how bad you want it and how bad you're going to come for it. I busted my tail in the weight room, busted my tail in the offseason, got back in shape, got my weight down and I feel good again."

His NFL experience is not a ton, but it shows through in practice.

The Cardinals released Byrd in April. The Cowboys signed him on May 1. Through the early part of training camp Byrd has inserted himself into the conversation with his play. He is big (6-4, 225 pounds). He can make contested catches, like his touchdown in red zone drills between defensive backs while going to the ground. He can go up and get the ball.

Jason Garrett likes to call receivers like Byrd, "quarterback friendly." In other words, the pass does not have to be perfect for Byrd to make the catch.

"Finally getting back into the mode of football," he said.

Byrd made the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and caught one pass for 8 yards in four games. He also contributed two special teams' tackles. In that preseason he led the Cardinals with 12 catches to go with 148 yards.

The road to the Cowboys' final roster will not be an easy one for Byrd. Five receivers are penciled in -- Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris and Devin Street -- and they would have to go lighter at another position to carry a sixth.

Byrd has learned not to play the numbers' game.

"At the end of the day it's football," Byrd said. "You can only do what you can control. What you control is you coming out here and working hard and doing what you got to do. Everything else, that's the front office and the coaches' job. As far as me, I have confidence in myself."

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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