Brandon joined the WGR Morning show on Monday but there wasn't any indication Byrd was coming to camp any time soon. "We cant wait for Jairus to get here. Obviously he’s a great player and someone we have a lot of respect for" Brandon said. "Once he’s here and gets through this year we want to continue the discussions with Eugene(Byrd’s agent Eugene Parker) to try to get him locked in long term. He’s part of the corps of this team. He’s a great player."
Many believe Byrd will skip most of the pre-season and show up just before the regular season commences. Byrd might not be happy with the franchise tag but he can still earn just under $7 million to play this season. Brandon was asked if he's concerned Byrd might actually miss some regular season games. "That’s his right, what he’d like to do. Hopefully we get him much sooner than that" Brandon said. He added that lines of communication remain open through Head Coach Doug Marrone and Byrd's teammates.
As to Marrone, who was hired by Brandon shortly after he was given total control of the franchise by Ralph Wilson, the President/CEO is already crediting the new coach with changing the culture around One Bills Drive. "I can tell you from sitting in team meetings and being around this organization, there’s a much different feel, a much different connectivity as far as the organization as a whole." Brandon told WGR. "Doug’s done a great job of establishing an aggressive, attacking culture."
Brandon talked about why he felt the former Syracuse Head Coach was the right coach for the Bills at this point in time. " I think he’s a dynamic leader of men and I love his aggressive style" Brandon said. " I think he’s a very smart man that is a football lifer. He’s been around great offensive minds. He just has a way about him. His ability to connect with people. We play the ultimate team sport and you need a leader in that locker room and that’s one of the things he brings to the table."
On the business side, Brandon said season tickets will be around 45,000 this year and he's hopeful the Bills will be able to sell out all seven games at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The opener with New England is the only game to sell out at this point.
You can hear the entire interview with Russ Brandon including his comments on Nathaniel Hackett, Mike Pettine, the in stadium experience at games and the potential impact of new security measures on attendance: