Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was a very visible no-show for the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp. His absence from recent voluntary Organized Team Activities (OTAs) was again notable, despite the truly non-news event that it was. But with Diggs, nearly all things are news-worthy.
Following the Bills’ first minicamp practice, quarterback Josh Allen met with media, and every person in the field house had tunnel vision toward resolution with the latest round of Diggs drama. Allen fielded questions exclusively related to the latest news surrounding Diggs for over 11 minutes.
Presented here is my transcription of Josh Allen’s comments on Diggs’ absence.
Josh Allen: “How we doin’ guys?”
Reporter: “Alright Josh, you know what the storyline is. I’m not gonna ask you to speak for Stef — what can you tell us about what you know about that situation?”
Josh Allen: “Well, I know, internally, we’re workin’ on some things. Umm, not football related. Umm, but, you know Stef — he’s my guy. I’ve, I’ve... excuse my... I f’in’ love him. He’s a, he’s a brother of mine. Umm, you know this does not work, what we’re doing here, without him. Umm, you know we wish he was in here today and, umm, was out there on the field with us, and that’s not the case. But I’ve got his back no matter what. Umm, and again, I’ve got no doubts that we will figure out what’s goin’ on, and umm... I freakin’ love him. I can’t stress that enough. You know there’s things that I could do better, and umm... you know to help out with this process and, uh, try to get him back here and be the Buffalo Bill that he’s meant to be.”
Reporter: “You said “not football related.” Everyone saw what happened on the field in the loss to Cincinnati and what happened — him leaving the locker room early. Does this stem from any of that and has it evolved into something else? I mean, can you at least characterize (inaudible).”
Allen: Well, one — “I can’t speak for him on that. Umm, whether it does or doesn’t is besides the fact. Umm, but again, uh, I’m, I’m up here. I love him. Umm, I just want him to know I’ve got his back and I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure that we can — we can get him back, ‘cause we are a much much better team with him on the field and, umm, in order to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish we need him. Umm, and he’s an all-the-way-in dude. And once he’s all the way in, he’s gonna be all the way in, umm, and that’s why guys gravitate towards him. He’s a, he’s a fiery competitor and, umm, at the end of the day he wants to win. This team wants to win, and umm, you know he, he’s — make no mistake of it — he’s a Buffalo Bills and, umm, you know, we’re gonna work it out.”
Reporter: “Is this a personality conflict between you and he, simply put?”
Allen: Me and him?
Reporter: “Is it a thing between — is it a personality thing between you and him?”
Allen: “No, I don’t think so. I think that there’s some things that could’ve gone better last year, umm, and didn’t. Umm, I just, you know. I think we’re just as an organization maybe not communicating the right way, umm, with everything. So, again, just tryin’ to talk and listen at the same time and, umm, hear him out. And like I said, just try to move this forward as quickly and as respectfully as, you know, as possible. Umm, yeah.”
Reporter: “Do you anticipate that he’ll be here at all during this minicamp?”
Allen: “I would hope so. Again, I wanna, I wanna get back on the same page as him. And, again, he makes me a better quarterback and I feel like I make him a better receiver and, umm, you know we’ve done this for three years together and you know I — you know there’s a lot more out there for us to be had you know, in terms of umm, you know being ranked upon — you know, you talk about history and statistically all these different categories. But, at the end of the day we both want to win, umm, and you know I got no doubt in my mind that we can get back to that spot and, umm, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Reporter: “When was the last time that you personally spoke with him and can you characterize that conversation in any way?
Allen: “Again, umm, I talked to him today and I’m sure we’re gonna have some more conversations moving forward and you know, as an organization, as QB-receiver, as an offensive coord — everything that goes, that goes in. Again, he — he’s such a special player umm that, you know, we don’t want this to be a distraction. He doesn’t want this to be a distraction. It is what it is, and the positive thing is that we’re not playin’ a game tomorrow. We got time. This is minicamp. Uhh, we got a lot of time to figure this, this out and umm... again I’m gonna do everything I can to, to, get him back in our locker room and vibin’ with the guys and umm... I got no doubt that we will.”
Reporter: “Prior to today, how much contact did you have with him throughout the offseason?”
Allen: “Uhh, I mean, I, I, I would consider it pretty regular for, umm, how we’ve been — maybe a, maybe a little bit less but — in terms of scheduling and stuff like that. He, he was all over the world and bein’ a fashion model and umm, you know. There’s things that, that go on. Uhh, you know I got to go to his charity event there in Maryland, so, umm. Again, you know, this, this is what it is right now. Umm, I’m not sweatin’ it. Umm, I love him and that’s my brother right there.”
Reporter: “Josh you said there’s things you could be, you could do better and you know you can talk to him and that kinda thing. What are those things that you can do better to kinda make this situation not be a situation?”
Allen: “Well I mean, I think, I think we’ll keep that internal right now. Umm, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Reporter: “Josh why is this, has this been hanging over for an extended period of time? Why is it seeming to come to a head now where these conversations are being had and hadn’t in the past?”
Allen: “Umm, I think just bein’ together in the same room with, with people. Umm, you know, he’s, he’s — like I said he’s a special player and he makes our team better and, umm, there’s like I said, there’s certain things we can do to help help that out and figure out different ways to — whether it’s gettin’ him the ball or gettin’ him more involved in the game plan, umm. And again I, like I said — I know that you guys are gonna hype this up and make this a big story right now. We’re not playing a game tomorrow and this is minicamp. Umm, I know everybody in our locker room loves him. Umm, and I don’t think we’re gonna see this as anything different other than umm a guy that wants to win umm, and somebody that we need to, you know, incorporate a little bit better in what we’re doin’ here and I got not doubt that we will. And you know — at the, at the, at the moment though, like, we’re still practicin’, we still got guys comin’ out here and workin’ hard and, umm, he’s been workin’ hard on his own and, umm. Like I said, the positive thing is we’re not playin’ a game tomorrow.”
Reporter: “You used the word ‘we’ you’re talking about the organization — or is it just you and him? Or is there conversations and things that need to be worked out beyond your relationship with him?”
Allen: “I think a little bit of everything. Umm, you know he’s — he wants to win and that, that’s what it boils down to. We wanna win. He wants to win. I wanna win. Umm, and once we get back on the same track and on the same page, umm, that’s what we’re gonna try to do.”
Reporter: “Josh does he wanna be here?”
Reporter: “On the surface, it’s hard, maybe a bit hard to understand and he got a new contract last year since coming to Buffalo he’s second in the league in targets so I mean he’s a huge part of what you guys do offensively. So I think maybe making sense of his frustrations are maybe hard for a lot of people on the outside. Do his frustrations make sense to you, what you’ve been communicated? Do you understand them?”
Allen: “Again, whether it makes sense to anybody on the outside or not, umm, that’s how he feels and that’s how, umm, I mean, I mean, you can’t take that lightly. If someone feels a certain way you can’t just bubble over it. Uhh, you gotta hear what they’re saying and try to understand it and, umm, try to work on it and that’s what we’re doin’.”
Reporter follow-up: “So just to be clear, you mentioned at the start that you said it was non-football related. Umm, so, I guess can elaborate on that in any sense?”
Allen: “Umm, I think it has more to do than just football, is what I’m basically sayin’. There’s the football piece, umm, one, and then stuff that happens, umm, due to football. You know, umm, and I’ll just kinda keep it to that.”
Reporter: “Josh, so what do you think’ll happen from here? Do you think you’ll talk to him tonight maybe... tomorrow. Like, how does that work from here ‘til the rest of the week maybe?”
Allen: “Yeah, I’m not, I’m not quite sure how it’s all gonna pan out, umm. But again, were not in camp — we’re not in training camp, we’re not in a game week, umm. This, I know you guys love minicamp and it’s a chance to come out here and see some of the new players. This has no impact on what we’re gonna be and how we’re gonna be goin’ forward as a team, umm, and that’s why again — this is... I’d say... obviously we want him here. I want him here. I wanna be throwin’ to him right now. I wanna get that timin’ down. Umm, but at the same time, there’s a lot of time left.”
Reporter: “I’m not tryin’ to pressure you on this, I’m more so tryin’ to understand you. But I listen to you say get him the ball more, get him incorporated, and then Jay asks non-football related. So is it fair to assume or read into it that maybe things have become strained and evolved out of a football situation into stuff that doesn’t have to do with football? Is that, without going into detail, in essence what you’re thinking?”
Allen: “No, I think, I think for the most part it has to do with more, more teamwork than anything. Umm, and I know that’s — you can call that football you can call that non-football. Umm, but I gotta be better, umm, and I will be and like I said, we’ll figure this out and move on and look at this as a blip in the road.”
Reporter: “When you rewind back to last year and the way it all end, and you and Stefon on the sideline and everything. Do you wish maybe immediately after things woulda’ went a little differently and maybe even, even after a little bit of time passed that you’d have reached out to him and if you didn’t immediately after the season ended?”
Allen: “Well I mean, I think I we wish woulda’ kept winning and that’s, you know... winning solves all problems and umm... yeah.”
Reporter: “ Did you expect him at practice today?”
Allen: “ Umm, I didn’t know, I didn’t know what to expect. Again, umm, you know... it is, it is what it is at this point. You know, I just, want him back in the building, umm... yeah.”
Reporter: “Josh when you talked to him is that here?”
Allen: “Uhh, we’ll keep that internal.”
Reporter: “Josh as a captain on this team and Stef is a captain as well — is this something that the rest of you guys as captains just wanna get after Stef and stress how important it is (inaudible)?”
Allen: “I don’t think it’s gettin’ after him. Umm, I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it. You know, we love him. Umm, he’s, he’s a great teammate, he’s a great player — and he changes the game for us so, umm. You know, he, he makes us — you know, it doesn’t work without 14.”
Reporter: “Do you feel this has created any level of distraction?”
Allen: “No, not at all. Umm, I think the media’s gonna push it out there an make it look like a bigger distraction as it is. But as I said before: We’re not playin’ a game this week. Umm, we got a lotta time left and... umm, there’s , I’m sure there’s a few guys around the league that aren’t in mandatory minicamp right now. So, we’re not lookin’ at it as any as such other than that.”
Reporter: “To be fair to that though, your head coach did say he was very concerned about Stef not being here earlier today so not really — I don’t think we’re making a big deal out of it when the head coach says something along those lines. (Inaudible.)”
Allen: “Yeah, I mean, I think that’s, I think that’s the, the typical reaction from a head coach. Umm, obviously he wants everybody here. As quarterback, a guy that I’ve played with for three years you know. Umm, a guy that I know and love. You know, I’m not worryin’ about not gettin’ four reps with him in mandatory minicamp right now.”
Reporter: “When is, when is the time that it becomes concerning, and how confident are you that whatever the problem is, is solved by then?”
Allen: “Uhh, I mean once we suit up for, you know, game one. Thank you guys.”
While no one in the world who follows professional sports would have expected Josh Allen to give away anything different than he did in those 11 minutes, his comments are interesting. Clearly, something is off with Stefon Diggs’ relationship with the Buffalo Bills. Hopefully more information becomes available that helps everyone paint a more full and clear picture of the work that must immediately be done.