Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. passed away at the age of 95 on Tuesday.
New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byd was a second-round draft pick by the Bills (42nd overall) out of Oregon in 2009 and spent the first five years of his career in Buffalo.
Byrd earned three trips to the Pro Bowl as a member of the Bills.
The All-Pro safety said he is "truly grateful" for the opportunity Wilson gave him out of college.
"R.I.P Mr. Wilson," Byrd said in a statement on his Facebook page. "Thank you doesn't describe how truly grateful I am for the opportunity you gave me to play a game I love. "
Byrd became a starter at free safety as a rookie in week four and made an immediate impact, as he was named as a consensus All-Rookie selection, tying for the NFL lead with a club rookie-record nine interceptions. He was the fourth Buffalo rookie selected to the Pro Bowl.
The San Diego native has appeared in 73 games with 66 starts overall. Byrd has posted career totals of 352 tackles (256 solo), three sacks, 22 interceptions, 33 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. His interception total since 2009 is ranked second in the NFL.