Jairus Byrd


New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers, December 6, 2015, Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer

“I always wanted to be a professional athlete”. Jairus Bryd graduated from Clayton High School in 2004 after growing up in San Diego. In 2002, Gill Byrd, Jairus’s father, landed a coaching position for the STL Rams, effectively relocating his family to Earth City, Missouri. The Byrds wanted Jairus to attend CHS due to the school’s strong academics, so the family agreed to pay out-of-district tuition to attend. During his time at CHS, Byrd played on the Greyhounds Football team. Byrd was crucial in the Hound’s victory at the state championship in 2004. He played as a wide receiver, quarterback, safety, and even became one of the best defensive players in Missouri as a senior in high school. Byrd recounts that his “most memorable experience was winning a state championship.” His successful high school football career led Byrd to play for the University of Oregon where he started 37 of 39 games.
His father, Gill Byrd, played for the San Diego Chargers. During his time on the Chargers, Gill Byrd achieved and still holds the title for the team record of 42 career interceptions. This accolade impacted Jairus, who is now known for his interceptions as well. “No bond is more meaningful, more productive, and more lasting than the relationship between parents and their children,” said the younger Byrd.
Byrd decided to forgo his senior year at the University of Oregon to enter the 2009 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills and was meant to serve as the third safety behind fellow players Patrick Chung and Louis Delmas. After playing for the Bills for four years, Byrd was signed to the New Orleans Saints with a six-year contract. He later was picked up by the Carolina Panthers in 2017.
Outside of his football career, Byrd enjoys giving back to others. He is committed to the Christian faith and is heavily involved with his religious community. He spends time and donates to an organization called Compassion International, whose mission is to break down barriers for children in poverty and help them find their faith. Byrd sponsors two children himself.
During his time at CHS, Byrd loved spending time with his friends in the Commons and taking lunchtime trips to Smoothie King. He was also very fond of Social Studies classes. “It opened my mind and imagination to cultures and places I hadn’t been exposed to personally yet” Byrd said.
Looking back, Byrd said “the flexibility and freedom that [Clayton High School] gives students prepares them really well for college.” He also suggests current students “have fun. Cultivate and nurture the relationships you make while in high school.”