AFC East Reporter
Stefon Diggs stepped up to the podium to set the record straight on Wednesday after the Buffalo Bills finished their first training camp practice at St. John Fisher University in Pittsford, New York. Diggs’ strange offseason has probably been the biggest storyline for the Bills.
He missed the team’s first practice at mandatory minicamp, a situation that coach Sean McDermott said he was “very concerned” about. McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen spent the next few days smoothing out the media coverage that ensued.
But even with the backtracking from Allen and McDermott, Diggs’ absence felt significant, given that he had yelled at Allen on the sideline at the end of the team’s playoff loss to the Bengals. Diggs then left the locker room before coaches could make it down from the box to talk to players.
“I wasn’t frustrated this offseason,” Diggs told reporters Wednesday. “Yeah, I got frustrated [after the game]. But after it was done, it was done. I was like, ‘S—, well, back to the drawing board.'”
Diggs added: “We’ve lost for a couple years at this point, and we’ve been trying to get over the hump. And obviously, it caused for a lot of frustration.”
Diggs made it clear at the press conference that he is tired of chasing a Super Bowl and coming up short. The Bills lost in the divisional round of the postseason last year. Following the 2021 regular season, they lost in the AFC title game.
Diggs felt like he had things to discuss with McDermott. In turn, the receiver did not practice on Day 1 of minicamp because the coach felt like they needed to take a break and spend some time apart. Diggs practiced on Day 2 of minicamp and the team canceled the third and final day.
The conversation between player and coach covered a range of topics — which Diggs would not disclose.
“It’s all water under the bridge now. I attribute it to family matters. I don’t like dancing around things,” Diggs said. “All is well. Water under the bridge. Now we’re back at work. … I kind of keep everything in-house.”
Were the conversations productive?
“What needed to be said was said,” Diggs said. “We talked about it as men — everybody involved.”
Diggs said he has “the utmost respect” for McDermott.
“We’re in a good spot,” McDermott told reporters Wednesday before practice. “Stef is ready to practice. … As far as the team is concerned, we have a lot of work to do. I think that’s really our focus and it should be our focus — making sure we’re putting the work out here that we need to put in.”
What about Ken Dorsey? What is Diggs’ confidence level in his offensive coordinator?
“What is my confidence level? I mean last year we went 13-3. Come on now. Let’s make it make sense,” Diggs said. “My confidence level is high. … For a first-time OC, he does everything he can to put us in a position to win. And I love him.”
Diggs finished last season with 108 catches, 1,429 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. And still, his on-field emotion seemed to demonstrate he wanted more targets — or more involvement in the offense. So he fielded a question about whether he wanted a say in playcalling.
“That is insane,” Diggs said. “For me to want more say in the offense is crazy, because I play receiver. You know what I’m saying? I don’t care what play is called. I can’t get up there and say, ‘Call this.’ It’s a lot of outlandish things that people were throwing out there.”
Diggs and Allen are also in a good place. They both have said as much. They were back on the field on Wednesday in practice. And, now, it seems the Bills can begin to truly focus on the 2023 regular season, when they’ll try to defend their title in the extremely competitive AFC East. The Diggs drama is old news.
“I’m loved and I’m appreciated,” Diggs said. “That’s all I want.”
Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @henrycmckenna.
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