ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs is present and participating in the team’s mandatory minicamp practice Wednesday. His attendance comes a day after he was not present at the team’s first minicamp practice.
An unusual Tuesday began with coach Sean McDermott responding to a question about Diggs’ presence for mandatory minicamp by saying he’s “not here.” When asked how concerned he was about Diggs’ absence, McDermott responded, “Very concerned. Very concerned,” and then declined to get into the matter further or provide any more details.
“When players miss, in particular [a] player of Stef’s caliber, you’d love to have those players here,” McDermott said. “So, overall been pleased with the attendance and the guys’ effort.”
Diggs was in the building Monday after missing all the team’s voluntary offseason training program, per both the Bills and his agent, Adisa Bakari. Diggs took a physical Monday, Bakari told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and met with general manager Brandon Beane and McDermott over Monday and Tuesday.
Quarterback Josh Allen said he did speak with Diggs on Tuesday and that “I’m sure we’re going to have some more conversations moving forward and as an organization, as QB-receiver, as an offensive coordinator, everything that goes in.”
His agent said that Diggs “will be there for the entirety of the minicamp.”
Per the Bills, Diggs left the facility before Tuesday’s practice. He was not present for any portion of the team’s practice on the outdoor field at the facility Tuesday. The team is also scheduled to practice Thursday.
“I know internally we’re working on some things, not football related, but Stef, he’s my guy. Excuse my … I f—ing love him. He’s a brother of mine,” Allen said Tuesday. “This does not work, what we’re doing here, without him. We wish he was in here today and was out there on the field with us and that’s not the case, but I’ve got his back no matter what. And again, I’ve got no doubts that we will figure out what’s going on and freaking love him. I can’t stress that enough. There’s things that I could do better and to help out with this process and try to get him back here and be the Buffalo Bill that he’s meant to be.”
Both Allen and pass-rusher Von Miller expressed their love and support for Diggs on Tuesday and underplayed his absence, in part due it being early in the NFL calendar.
Diggs signed a four-year, $96 million extension last offseason, and trading him would incur a significant dead cap hit with $31.1 million in dead money set to hit if he was traded. His deal included $70 million guaranteed, the third most all time for a wide receiver. Diggs, 29, and Buffalo had their sights set on him retiring with the Bills when the contract was signed in April 2022.
After the team’s postseason loss to the Bengals in January that featured the Buffalo offense’s lowest output of the year, Diggs was noticeably upset with Allen on the sideline and left before talking to the media.
Diggs’ production declined in the second half of the 2022 season. He started the year on pace for his best career season statistically with 72 receptions on 98 targets for 985 yards and seven touchdowns in the first nine games. In the nine games that followed, including the postseason, Diggs caught 47 receptions on 74 targets and four touchdowns.
“I think we’re just, as an organization, maybe not communicating the right way with everything,” Allen said. “So again, just trying to talk and listen at the same time and hear him out. And like I said, just try to move this forward as quickly and as respectfully as possible.”