Sean McDermott’s ‘Striking Change’ on Bills WR Stefon Diggs Turns Heads

Sean McDermott

Getty Bills head coach Sean McDermott looks on at Hard Rock Stadium on September 25, 2022.

Suffice to say, the Buffalo Bills start to mandatory minicamp did not go well due to mysterious absence of their No. 1 wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, who left the facility before practice started on Tuesday, June 13.

Head coach Sean McDermott said he was “very concerned” about Diggs’ absence on Tuesday, which immediately sounded off alarm bells for much of Bills Mafia. However, McDermott did a full 180 while speaking to reporters on Wednesday, as the 49-year-old coach revealed he had given the three-time Pro Bowler permission to leave.

While it was reassuring to see Diggs participating in practice on Day 2 of mandatory minicamp, McDermott’s “striking change in tone,” as Pro Football Talk‘s Michael David Smith described it, brought up more questions than answers.

“There are a lot of things out there that aren’t accurate,” McDermott said. “Let me be clear, Stef did everything that he was asked to do. He was here Monday, he executed his physical on time. Stef reported yesterday, Tuesday, and reported for meetings, at which time we had a great conversation, great communication.

“We got to a point yesterday where we just felt like we all needed a break and some space. So I gave Stef permission to get some space and head out, and then picked up those conversations after practice. So let me make it clear, it was not Stef leaving unexcused. He was excused by me. And so those conversations got us to what I think and believe is a great spot.”

As for why he used the term “very concerning,” if it was an excused absence, McDermott explained that he’s concerned any time a player misses practice, “in particular a player as important to us as Stef… That’s just how I am. So when I say very concerned, I’m very concerned because of the situation with one of our players and it was something we needed to work through.”

Several Fans & Analysts Aren’t Fully Buying Sean McDermott’s Statement

Overall, McDermott said everything is “resolved” with Diggs, but most people aren’t buying that sentiment.

WROC-TV‘s Thad Brown tweeted, “Fascinating to hear McDermott re-label yesterday an ‘excused’ absence for Diggs. Either a large gaffe by the HC to leave that piece of info out yesterday. Or part of the solution strategy for today. If McDermott says it’s solved, cool. See if he’s right as we go.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Silver tweeted, “Then why did McDermott say he was ‘very concerned’ yesterday while failing to point out that Diggs had been in the building earlier? Repeat: something weird is going on. 👀,” to which The Athletic‘s Tim Graham replied, “The Bills also tweeted this out like breaking news yesterday. If it truly is nothing, then the Bills suffered several self-inflicted wounds.”

SB Nation’s Bruce Nolan believes McDermott likely regrets letting his true emotions out. Nolan tweeted, “I 100% believe McD let his frustration with those convos slip slightly yesterday, contributed to this, and wants to put the toothpaste back in the tube… ‘There’s a lot of things out there that aren’t accurate’ in part because you didn’t tell people yesterday what you told them today.”

Sean McDermott Explained Why Stefon Diggs Didn’t Participate in Team Drills

While Bills Mafia was thrilled to see Diggs back in action on Wednesday, there was more worry when several analysts in attendance pointed out that the 29-year-old wasn’t participating in team drills. However, McDermott said that due to Diggs’ absence at voluntary organized team activities, they’re slowly “ramping him up,” while also noting the receiver is “in great shape.”

As for the “why” that led up to Diggs’ bizarre ordeal, that may never be revealed. But based on the photos and videos shared from Wednesday’s practice, it appears the receiver’s relationship with quarterback Josh Allen is just fine.

Allen told reporters after Tuesday’s practice, “Internally, we’re working on some things. Not football-related. Stef, he’s my guy. I f****** love him… This does not work, what we’re doing here, without him… I’ve got his back not matter what.”

“There are some things that could have gone better last year and didn’t,” Allen continued. “I think, as an organization, maybe not communicating the right way with everything. Just trying to talk and listen at the same time, hear him out and just try to move this forward as quickly and respectfully as possible.”