Just two days after the Buffalo Bills‘ 27-15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most dispiriting displays of preseason football, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith continued to stir the pot when it comes to the franchise’s status for the 2023 NFL season.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday, August 21, Smith said all the hype surrounding their AFC East rival, the New York Jets, is letting Buffalo “off the hook,” because more should people be discussing quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills’ continuous playoff failures.
Smith says this is why wide receiver Stefon Diggs angrily “stormed out and didn’t want to talk to nobody” after their postseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and why such “friction” spilled into training camp.
“Brother wants out by the way,” Smith claimed. “I’m just telling you what I know, I’ve got my own sources. Brother wants out. He don’t want to be in Buffalo anymore. I have my sources. Stefon Diggs got to be there, but he would prefer to be gone because he’s lost a level of belief in the Buffalo Bills. That’s right! I said it. I’m telling you want I know. They can deny, but I have my sources.”
“But he’s not going to force his way out,” Smith continued. “He knows he’s got to be there and he’s got to perform. But he ain’t feeling the Buffalo Bills the way he once did because he feels there’s a window of opportunity they may have missed out on. Josh Allen has got to show them that that’s not true.”
Shortly after the video clip went viral, Diggs clapped back at the report. He posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “100% not true. I don’t know who the source 😒 is but I thought i nip this s*** in the bud already.” Diggs then posted, “Rocking wit my dawgs… Bills mafia ❤️💙 through and through !!!”
Bills Fans & Analysts Ripped Stephen A. Smith for His ‘Sources’
Bills fans strongly reacted to Smith’s statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, and beat reporters collectively questioned his “sources.”
The Diggs situation was put to bed at the start of training camp, when the team’s No. 1 wide receiver told reporters that the highly-publicized offseason drama was “water under the bridge,” and how he “100%” wants to retire in Buffalo.
Buffalo Rumblings’ J. Spence posted, “Stephen A probably couldn’t tell you how to get to One Bills Dr from the airport, yet alone have real sources in Buffalo 😂😂😂😂😂😂,” while Batavia Daily’s Alex Brasky used quotations on Smith’s “reporting.”
uStadiumApp asked, “What’s the level of🧢 from SAS on this?” to which a Bills fan replied, “Guys the biggest 🤡 on espn suprised he’s still got a job.” Syracuse.com‘s Matt Parrino posted, “The NFL Insider is at it again, I see…”
Stefon Diggs Isn’t Leaving Buffalo Any Time Soon
Diggs has never shied away from sharing his true feelings on the Bills’ shortcomings, so there’s no reason to believe things aren’t settled between him and Allen, or him and the team.
While Allen has spoken out to say how much he “loves” Diggs and that everything is fine, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver has publicly reciprocated the love. Before sending Monday’s post, the 29-year-old had most recently shared a video of him and Allen with the caption, “Buddies for life 🤝.”
Diggs said earlier this month, “I don’t know if anybody has a family here, everybody has family issues…All is well now… we’re back at work.” True to his word, the veteran has been both a force and leader throughout training camp.
While some fans expressed the need to at least entertain Smith’s statement due to Diggs’ history with the Minnesota Vikings, it’s important to remember that his $96 million contract with the Bills makes a trade or release nearly impossible. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said during an August 1 appearacne on “The Pat McAfee Show” that Diggs never asked to be traded, and said no other team even called to ask if he was available because “they know he’s ours.”