Disgruntled Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has returned to practice after causing a stir when he jumped on Tuesday amid mysterious issues between him and the team.
Diggs’ absence initially left head coach Sean McDermott “very worried”, but tensions appeared to ease on Wednesday.
McDermott came out to say Diggs didn’t skip the team’s mandatory session on Tuesday, but was in fact excused.
Regarding the issues that led Diggs to question his role in the offense, the coach said the team and the receiver were “in a very good position.”
McDermott made an unscheduled appearance with reporters after practice to answer questions raised about Diggs’ status, clarifying and expanding on the limited comments he made to help create the stir a day earlier.
Disgruntled Buffalo Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs returned to practice on Wednesday
Diggs caused a stir on Tuesday when he failed to show up after being at the facility previously
Bills head coach Sean McDermott shed some light on the situation when speaking to reporters
That’s when he said he was “very concerned” that the catcher was leaving team facilities and missing mandatory practice.
Setting out a schedule, McDermott said he and team officials spent Monday and Tuesday talking with Diggs to address the receiver’s concerns.
The team and player then agreed to take a break from talks, with McDermott saying he excused Diggs from training and then resumed conversations later in the day.
“Sometimes you need to have conversations, you need communication and I appreciate that Stef is willing to communicate,” McDermott said.
“And you have to understand, Stef is a valuable member of this football team. He’s one of our captains and a leader. … And I love him.’
Although Diggs has yet to speak to reporters or share his concerns publicly, he was welcome wearing his No. 14 white training jersey and shorts in his off-season training debut. Diggs skipped the team’s previous voluntary workouts, which began in mid-April.
Diggs was limited to participating only in stretches and individual portions of practice, while watching team sessions from the sidelines, some of them alongside offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. During a stretch, Diggs reached out and shook hands with quarterback Josh Allen.
McDermott said Diggs’ limited training time was designed to “power him up” near the start of training camp. The Bills canceled their last mandatory session on Thursday and are out until they report to camp in suburban Rochester late next month.
While McDermott didn’t divulge details of his conversations with Diggs, Allen shed some light on the issues a day earlier. The quarterback said Diggs’ concerns were unresolved issues stemming from last season, including the receiver’s increased involvement in the offense and more input into game planning among the player’s concerns.
“I think there are things that could have been better last year that weren’t,” Allen said. “I think as an organization maybe not communicating the right way with everything.”
Diggs is entering his fourth season at Buffalo, and last summer was rewarded with a four-year, $96 million contract that begins this season.
Since being acquired in a trade from Minnesota in March 2020, the 29-year-old has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL, combining 365 catches for 4,189 yards and 29 touchdowns – one less than he did. had some in Minnesota – in his three seasons at Buffalo.
Diggs’ production had a lull in the latter part of last season, when he went through a three-game streak in which he had 10 catches for 123 yards and no touchdowns. Otherwise, his 108 catches and 1,429 yards ranked second on the Bills’ single-season list, and he tied a team record with 11 touchdowns received.
McDermott initially said he was “very concerned” about Diggs’ absence on Tuesday
Josh Allen said he, nor Diggs, ‘wanted it to be a distraction’ – even though it already seems like it
Diggs has posted various notes on social media alluding to his displeasure over the past few months. He was particularly upset with how the Bills’ season ended in a miss in a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in January.
It was an outing in which Diggs was caught by TV cameras making animated arm-raising gestures at Allen on the sideline.
His frustrations boiled over afterwards, when he immediately ran out of the locker room before McDermott addressed the team, leading to teammate Isaiah McKenzie chasing Diggs and convincing him to return.
Bills center Mitch Morse was unaware of the issues bothering Diggs, while both sides were pleased – not surprised – to talk about it.
“They do what they’re supposed to do, which is have possibly uncomfortable conversations, have some candor, which can be difficult at times, but in the end, you enjoy it,” Morse said. “I want Stef and everyone to be the happiest version of themselves. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.