On Tuesday, NFL Network tweeted out a quote card of Prime Time calling the newest Houston Texan, Tyrann Mathieu, the best safety in football:
That caught Byard's eye:
There's no denying the Honey Badger turned heads as an Arizona Cardinal. He made the Pro Bowl and received a first-team All-Pro nod in 2015. On the other hand, Byard received both of those honors just last season. Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings was the other first-team All-Pro safety last year.
In his response, the Hall of Famer mistakenly referred to the Titans safety as "a fan":
And on it went:
Kevin Byard @KB31_Era
But the numbers nor film add up. How do you overlook guys like Harrison Smith, Earl Thomas, and Eric Berry as not being the best in the game? I never said I was the best but I’m on my way. You continue to be a fan and I will continue going to the pro bowl and being great #Truth https://t.co/s099lNjiq2
Kevin Byard @KB31_Era
We all know Deion is the 🐐 but it was never a debate because he didn’t answer the question that I asked Paul. Instead he called me a fan which further proved that he doesn’t watch enough film to make that statement but hey 🤷🏾♂️, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion https://t.co/J3WFG8YR6F
The 2016 third-round pick out of Middle Tennessee tied for the league lead with eight interceptions in just his second season. Add in 87 combined tackles, 24 passes defended and two fumble recoveries, and it's clear that he was a big-time playmaker in Tennessee's secondary.
As evidenced by Sanders' tweet, Byard is not yet a household name. But just two years into his pro career while coming from a non-Power 5 school, the 24-year-old has already put the NFL on notice by quickly becoming one of the best at his position.
Byard expanded upon his back-and-forth with Prime Time, per ESPN's Cameron Wolfe:
"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. 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.
"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. Some guys don't have to reach the all-pro or Pro Bowl pinnacle to get respect from legends. I understand the position I'm in, being a small-school guy, I have to fight for every inch of respect that I can get in this league. This chip will stay on my shoulder until I'm out the game."
In other words, the rest of the league better watch out.