Diggs' absence at Bills OTAs ‘fuels the mystery’

Mike Florio and Chris Simms question if Josh Allen should be letting Stefon Diggs off the hook for not attending OTAs and discuss if there could be a link to injury concern for those not participating.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: One of the biggest pieces around Josh Allen is receiver Stefon Diggs. He has not been around for the offseason program. He isn't there at OTAs. There are obviously questions regarding him, given what we last saw from him on a football field, upset at the end of the loss to the Bengals, making his points directly to Josh Allen on the sideline. Here's Allen talking about Stefon Diggs not being present for OTA workouts.

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JOSH ALLEN: Obviously, this is voluntary. We'd love to have him here. I'd love to have him here. I understand that OTAs aren't for everybody. And again, it is voluntary at the end of the day.

But some of the guys are getting a lot of good work. And maybe we wouldn't have gotten that if he is here right now. So I know those guys aren't taking that for granted.


MIKE FLORIO: Look, I love Josh Allen as a player, but-- and maybe he's saying something different privately than he's saying publicly. Do you think Peyton Manning would have sat up there and said it's voluntary when Marvin Harrison isn't there or Reggie Wayne isn't there? Guys, it's time to work. Guys, it's time to work.


We're trying to chase greatness. Everybody else is working. It's time to work. You had some time off. And now it's time to work. That's where the leadership, the natural leadership comes from.

And I think Josh Allen has-- and you know what? This may come down to who really has the upper hand in that relationship. Stefon Diggs is older. Is Stefon Diggs the alpha in that relationship? It should be Allen as the alpha in that relationship.

And just based on that little soundbite-- and again, I love Josh Allen. I don't want to get sideways with Josh Allen. But I don't know. He should be in charge of that relationship. And Stefon Diggs should be there because all it should take is one text from Josh Allen, Chris, to get him there.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I hear you you. I don't know if I agree with you that I don't think Peyton Manning would have called Marvin Harrison if he wasn't out there, right? But to your point, I think he would have said something behind the scenes the right way. Yeah, I don't know if he would have done it publicly.


But I think--

MIKE FLORIO: No, no, no, and I-- no. But I agree with you. I'm sorry to interrupt you. I agree with you that he wouldn't have called him out publicly.


MIKE FLORIO: But he also wouldn't have given him a public permission slip--

CHRIS SIMMS: I hear you there, OK, sure.

MIKE FLORIO: --like Josh Allen just did.

CHRIS SIMMS: Sure, I got you there. OK, I don't disagree with what you said there. OK, you framed it better. I like that. I like that. You approached the stand the right way the second time. I like that counselor, way to go.

But no, really, I think that-- I do think there's a special relationship there. I do. I mean, from everything I've heard-- I've seen them interact. They seem like they're on the same page. But yeah, right now with the way the year ended and all that people like us question-- and is Diggs happy and all that?


I wish Diggs was there just to kind of calm those waters there and not have people like us and everybody questioning it because I certainly do with that, right? Now, receiver is a position. And he's a guy that I know is obsessed and works. We know that. He's like that.

He's like an OBJ, where he's somewhere working, doing that, all of that. But yeah, I'm with you again. Like we say with Lamar or anybody else, you're making good money. You're one of the best receivers in football. You're one of the leaders of the team. And of course, I think it's best for you and the team for you to be out there with everybody.


MIKE FLORIO: I take it case by case, person by person, player by player on whether or not I believe folks should be present for OTAs. But at a fundamental level, what are you trying to do? And we all know that this voluntary thing is BS. They should just go ahead and negotiate it in the CBA and make it mandatory and pay the players accordingly. That's on the Union to get that properly taken care of.



MIKE FLORIO: We know that if you're a competitor and you're chasing greatness, everyone else is there. We've made that argument as it relates to quarterbacks. All the other teams have their players there. They're doing what they can to lay the foundation to have a great season. And if you're not doing it, you are necessarily falling behind the teams you ultimately are going to be competing against.

Now, there isn't a bright line. There isn't even much of a dotted line between May and September and beyond. But I think those of us who understand how it works recognize. And you put it very well the other day. How you lay the foundation now to get off to a good start at training camp, and you get off to a good start in the regular season, you're laying that foundation a brick at a time.

And every other team is laying bricks now. And if you're not there, Stefon Diggs in there, especially with everything that's going on--



MIKE FLORIO: Everyone's wondering what's up with Stefon Diggs. So it's a total mystery with Stefon Diggs if he's not there. So it stands out even more than if everything was fine.

CHRIS SIMMS: That's what I was saying. Like I wish he was there to calm the water.

MIKE FLORIO: It's not fine.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, exactly. We're all going to speculate. We're not sure. Our lasting images in our head are him-- and Josh Allen and him staring him on the sidelines. So yeah, that's what we're thinking of. Is there something going on there?

And Mike, you make a good point too about the OTAs. I wish they would maybe-- or some find some way maybe to make them mandatory. I honestly-- as an ex-player, I think they're beneficial to the player, period. We don't need contact . You don't need to be smashing heads or doing anything like that.


But I do. And I know my thought is not alone. I have these conversations with my friends around the NFL. I'm a believer. And I know some in the NFL are that that's why the injury rate's up in the NFL because players don't get to play football on the field as much anymore.

So it's like, hey, workout, weight room, workout, sprints, workout, weight room. Oh, now go on the field and do this. And their bodies aren't used to it. And that's where I do, in a lot of ways, think it does a disservice to the players and especially the young players as we discussed in the past because they're the ones that need this time to really develop and get out there.

Yeah, Jason Kelce and those guys, OK, it's not as important. I get it. But for the most part, everybody needs to be out there. And it helps in a lot of different ways.

MIKE FLORIO: That's a great point. And I'm going to be posting something later today at PFT that speaks directly to that point and how the CBA from 2011, which dramatically reduced offseason and training camp intensity and preparation, what the link may be or may not be between injury rates and that reduced preparation, formal preparation for the players to go out there and actually play in games.