ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs said that he is thankful to have a quarterback who supports him and emphasized that he does everything he can to be successful and be a good teammate.
“Obviously, I’m thankful to have a quarterback who has my back and someone who understands, somebody who is out there, somebody who plays the game of football,” Diggs said Thursday when asked about recent comments by quarterback Josh Allen. “For other people, it’s hard for me to put it in words how much time and effort goes into football and how serious it is out there. When things aren’t going right and you put a lot on yourself and you want more for yourself, you want more for your team.
“… I don’t like bringing other people in it, but you see the same things maybe from other players at one point, and it draws different conclusions. It’s easy to piggyback or kind of say X, Y, Z about me, but up to this point, I’ve been nothing but a leader. I’ve been consistent. I love ball. I do everything I can to have success on the football field and be a good teammate. So, whenever that’s drawn into question, I feel like it’s all right … let it go. I’ve been the same guy. I’m not going to change up who I am, how I am. I approach this game with love and respect and I’m going to continue to do so.”
Diggs’ comments came in his typical weekly news conference a day after Allen said that he is tired of “hearing all this nonsense from people” about the wide receiver’s actions on the sideline.
The comments by both players came in response to a televised incident of Diggs slamming a tablet during the Bills’ 25-20 loss to the Jaguars. The moment was broadcast with 5 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Diggs sat on the bench and slammed the tablet down before throwing it on the ground as he stood up.
“He’s a competitor; he’s a fiery competitor. I’m tired of hearing all this nonsense from people,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of guys in the league that have that same fire that don’t get talked about. He’s a lot of our juice on the sideline, making sure the offense is staying up and as energized as possible, and we feed off of that.”
Diggs is in his third consecutive season as a team captain for the Bills and has expressed a variety of times in the past how important winning and being there for his teammates are to him.
Coach Sean McDermott reiterated his support for Diggs on Thursday, saying, “Quite honestly, a lot of people are misunderstood. Some of what’s seen on or written about even to some extent, is not — perception isn’t always reality is the bottom line, right, this case. So, you know, he’s a heck of a competitor. And he is one of the best leaders that we have on game day, from an energy standpoint, from a competitive-edge standpoint.
“So, yeah, I would echo Josh’s statement or statements that he made yesterday, I believe it was, about Stef. There’s nobody better in terms of his approach to the game.”
The frustration seen in the clip of Diggs came amidst the Bills’ second-lowest scoring performance of the season (20 points). The team played in London and the offense came out of halftime with consecutive drives ending in punts, including the drive just before the clip was shown that started with a 48-yard pass to Diggs but ended three plays later with no more yards gained.
“That’s why I got so frustrated on the sideline cause it’s like, for one, it’s nine o’clock in the morning. I’m out here sweating. I’m giving everything I got in and I see the guys around me, everybody’s like this, like damn, like why things aren’t necessarily clicking how we usually click,” Diggs said. “And I’m like, I had a moment of looking at the iPad and I got lost and I’m like, it’s not the iPad. It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s just us. It’s just me. And I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. So, that’s where my frustration came from and it was like, like damn, am I doing everything in my power to keep us on the right track?”
The offense put together two scoring drives in the fourth quarter but was unable to complete a comeback, committing two turnovers in the final quarter as well.
The Bills’ offense had produced three consecutive games with 37 or more points before the Jaguars matchup. Allen leads the league in completion percentage (73.1%) and Diggs is tied for the league lead with five touchdown receptions. He also is the only player with at least 100 receiving yards in four games this season. With 100 receiving yards on Sunday night against the Giants, he will become the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 100 receiving yards in five of his team’s first six games of a season (Marvin Harrison, Michael Irvin, Stanley Morgan and Adam Thielen).
Diggs said that although he receives significant attention in large part for what he can do on the field, feeling understood by the general public isn’t a top priority.
“I’m here to do a job. For me to want to be understood, that would mean I would care about opinions. I don’t necessarily care about opinions. I care about what matters most, and that’s my teammates, my family, the people I hold close to my heart,” Diggs said. “Of course I want to touch every fan or every person who cheers for us, in a level of empathy because I do understand what it’s like to watch the game and to support a team and to support somebody, but for the people who draw unnecessary conclusions or things with negativity, I can’t combat that with anything but, you don’t know me on a personal level, and I try to keep it that way.
“I try to be a little mysterious. I don’t really want people knowing me on a personal level, because then maybe you might know a little bit more, so I kind of keep it that way. I like a controllable or a comfortable distance in that way.”