Could we see Brandin Byrd back at UNT?

North Texas running back Brandin Byrd breaks free on a run during the Mean Green's win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl. Bryd has shown interest in returning UNT as a graduate assistant if he does not continue his career on the professional level, coach Dan McCarney said. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Dan McCarney received a call a while back from one of the better running backs in recent school history.

The conversation ended up being maybe the first step in Brandin Byrd returning to UNT — this time as a graduate assistant coach.

McCarney relayed the story recently after the Mean Green’s spring game.

“Brandin called me on Saturday and asked if he could see me,” McCarney said. “I hadn’t seen him in a while because he and [former UNT wide receiver Brelan Chanellor] had been working out, going back and forth to Copperas Cove. I thought that if he couldn’t talk to me over the phone, it must be something serious.

“This was Brandin Byrd, though, who is one of the highest class character guys I have ever been around in my career. He just wanted to thank me for what I did for him in his career here. He told me that he wanted to play in the NFL, but if that didn’t work out, he wanted to come coach for me and be a graduate assistant. How cool is that?”

Pretty cool if you ask me.

I bring it up now because it off-season OTAs start today for a lot of NFL teams. Training camp is right around the corner.

Byrd was a solid back and finished eighth in career rushing yards at UNT with 2,202.

He’s also a solid character guy.

There’s no telling what will happen from here on out for Byrd. He could end up getting a shot at playing in the NFL. He could end up playing in Canada.

McCarney said Byrd hasn’t ruled out coaching as another option.

It’s something to watch.

UNT has had a host of former players end up in coaching the last couple of years. Former Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Chris Hurd is on the staff at Florida Atlantic, while former UNT offensive lineman Victor Gill is a graduate assistant at UNT. Cody Spencer (Texarkana), Nathan Tune (Denton) and Patrick Cobbs are among the former UNT players I remember right off hand that are coaching in the high school ranks.

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