Between Stefon Diggs‘ mysterious absence from practice on Day 1 of mandatory minicamp and head coach Sean McDermott’s haphazard attempt at damage control on Day 2, it suffices to say that the Buffalo Bills‘ offseason isn’t going as planned.
While outsiders work to figure out what led to the rift between Diggs and the Bills organization, or why McDermott wasn’t upfront about his No. 1 wide receiver’s absence from the start, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi suggested that there are more issues when it comes to the franchise and their head coach during a June 16 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
Lombardi threw McDermott under the bus by not only suggesting McDermott called the scheme during the infamous “13 seconds,” referring to the Bills’ overtime playoff collapse to the Kansas City Chiefs two seasons ago, he also claimed the 49-year-old head coach’s desire to call all the defensive plays forced Leslie Frazier’s sudden exit in February.
“I think they have a lot of things going on,” Lombardi said. “Let’s go back to Leslie Frazier’s departure. Sean McDermott wants to call the defensive plays and Leslie Frazier was in charge of that. Now, let’s even go further back, 13 seconds in Kansas City, McDermott took over the play calls on the drive that resulted in a field goal and that didn’t sit well with Leslie. The next year, he kept calling the defense.
“But this year, McDermott wants to call the defense, and Leslie, for whatever reason, he said, ‘No. Look that was the agreement we had.’ So, he decided to leave and take the sabbatical. So there’s a little bit of undercurrent there… I think there’s some internal combustion happening in that building.”
Lombardi said he didn’t know what led to the Diggs situation, but threw in one more dig. “The sports books seem to have Buffalo at 10.5 wins, which to me seems low based on their success the last two years. So what is actually going on?”
Analysts Strongly Refuted Michael Lombardi’s Report
Speaking for much of Bills Mafia, McAfee yelled, “Woah!” while Lombardi was talking, and asked if he had ever mentioned these bombshell claims publicly before. “That’s the first time I’m hearing it,” McAfee says.
While the idea of complete discord happening within Orchard Park is likely thrilling fodder for the Bills’ rival teams, most fans and analysts had trouble believing Lombardi’s bold claims.
The Athletic’s Tim Graham, a proven Bills insider, refuted Lombardi’s report on Friday. Graham tweeted, “McDermott told me at the combine that the only time he ever called the plays was that brief time in 2018. I specially asked him in a one-on-one setting how often he’d taken over as Bills head coach,” to which Broncos reporter Benjamin Albright replied, “100% correct. Further that’s not why Frazier left at all.”
One fan tweeted, “So we’re just pretending that Lombardi just sat on the info about 13 seconds well over a year after it happened?? If it looks like b*******, and sounds like b*******, well…,” while a Buffalo Fanatics contributor wrote, “It feels like this past week has been a media frenzy trying to heighten the temperature on McDermott’s seat.”
Cover 1 host Greg Vorse tweeted, “This feels like nothing more than conjecture and ‘I want attention’ nonsense. It goes against everything I’ve heard and seen from other reporters.”
Leslie Frazier Spoke Out About the ‘Reasons’ That Led to His Bills Exit
Three months after the announcement was made, Frazier finally spoke out on his departure from Buffalo. “I think my reasons for stepping away were the right reasons; I feel good about it,” the 64-year-old told SI in the May 30 story.
CBS Sports analyst Josina Anderson reported on June 1 that Frazier spent two days with the Green Bay Packers after attending the NFL’s Coach Accelerator program, followed by two days with the Washington Commanders, and was set to make a two-day visit with the New York Giants “to maintain dialogue,” as he has close relationships with head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen from his six-year tenure in Buffalo.
While we may never know what exactly happened that led to Frazier’s exit, as it seems odd to take a year off if his main goal is to be hired as a head coach next season, multiple visits with other teams strongly indicate he’s coached his last game in Buffalo.