South Carolina Football: Gamecock alum signs new contract with NFL Playoff team

South Carolina football alum Damiere Byrd signed a new contract with the Houston Texans that put him on the practice for the postseason.

Former South Carolina football wide receiver Damiere Byrd
Former South Carolina football wide receiver Damiere Byrd / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football fans (and players) debate over who the fastest player on the team is. This past season, wide receivers Nyck Harbor, Xavier Legette, and Ahmarean Brown and defensive backs Nick Emmanwori, Emory Floyd, and O'Donnell Fortune all have made claims to the honor. However, back in 2014, there was no debate over who was the fastest Gamecock on one of the best offenses in school history.

Wide receiver Damiere Byrd was really, really fast. With straightline speed that rivals any of the fastest players on the current Gamecocks, Byrd was a deep threat who logged 9 different catches of over 40 yards in his career. Those 9 catches accounted for almost half of his career yardage in garnet and black (519 yards out of 1214 career yards). He also had four more catches that went for more than 30 yards, giving him 13 catches that went for 30 yards or more, totaling 661 yards of his career totals

It was easy to see why NFL teams were interested in Byrd despite his modest overall stat production during his four years in Columbia. His big play ability and his impressive NFL Combine production (ran a 4.28 40-yard dash with an injured calf) led to his signing by the Carolina Panthers.

He spent four years with the Panthers before stints with the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and Atlanta Falcons. He spent most of 2023 with second stops with the Panthers and Falcons but was released during training camp by the Panthers (injury) and near the end of the regular season by the Falcons.

On Wednesday, he was signed to a new NFL contract.

Damiere Byrd will be part of the Houston Texans organization for the rest of the NFL Playoffs. He signed a deal that puts him on the practice squad, replacing the injured Noah Brown in the organization. A veteran like Byrd could get called up to game action if the Texans get worried about their numbers at wide receiver. He is also a special teams threat who has taken a kick back for a touchdown in his career.

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