The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY)

Diggs finds hap­pi­ness in Buf­falo

- By JOHN WAWROW Sports · NFL Football · American Football · Buffalo · Orchard Park, NY · New York · Buffalo Bills · Buffalo · Minnesota · San Diego Chargers · NFL

OR­CHARD PARK, N.Y. » Ste­fon Diggs was pre­par­ing for the start of prac­tice Wed­nes­day when Buf­falo Bills of­fen­sive line coach Bobby John­son ap­proached and asked how the re­ceiver was do­ing.

Diggs sur­prised even him­self with his quick and gen­uine re­sponse.

“I’m like, ‘ I’m happy,’” Diggs said, re­call­ing how a sim­ple in­ter­ac­tion grew into a per­sonal rev­e­la­tion nine months into his first season in Buf­falo.

“I said it with a smile be­cause I’ve been bust­ing my (rear) for a long time,” he said. “But men­tally, be­ing in the right place and push­ing in the right di­rec­tion: I’ve al­ways been try­ing to be that guy, try­ing to have a pos­i­tive en­ergy. And I’m just happy to be where I am.”

Char­ac­ter­ized rightly or wrongly as one of the NFL’s many diva re­ceivers for his sev­eral side­line out­bursts dur­ing his first five sea­sons in Min­nesota, Diggs has

put his mer­cu­rial past be­hind by warm­ing up to his new sur­round­ings.

His pro­duc­tion has cer­tainly helped smooth the tran­si­tion, with Diggs rank­ing sec­ond in the NFLwith 73 catches and 906 yards.

But the re­ceiver stresses his up­beat mood goes be­yond num­bers and in­stead re­flects a shift in ap­proach he de­manded from him­self this off­sea­son dur­ing a per­sonal re- eval­u­a­tion which oc­curred well be­fore be­ing traded to Buf­falo in March.

“Whether I was stay­ing or whether I was leav­ing, I feel like my process af­ter

that year, I was go­ing to han­dle things in a cer­tain kind of way,” Diggs said, re­fer­ring in part to last season, when he drew more than $200,000 in fines for skip­ping two days of team ac­tiv­i­ties fol­low­ing a dispir­it­ing loss at Chicago.

“I feel like I learned so much from my previous sit­u­a­tion that I kind of car­ried it over in try­ing to turn

over a new leaf and try to han­dle things a lot dif­fer­ently than I did be­fore,” he said. “I went into this new year try­ing to be the best player, best team­mate. And it’s been work­ing out.”

The AFC East- lead­ing Bills (7-3), who come out of their bye week off pre­par­ing to host the Charg­ers (37) on Sun­day, have been the bene­fac­tors.

 ??  ?? In this Sun­day, Nov. 15, 2020, file photo Buf­falo Bills wide re­ceiver Ste­fon Diggs (14) pulls in a touch­down pass as Ari­zona Car­di­nals corner­back Pa­trick Peter­son (21) de­fends dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL foot­ball game in Glen­dale, Ariz.
In this Sun­day, Nov. 15, 2020, file photo Buf­falo Bills wide re­ceiver Ste­fon Diggs (14) pulls in a touch­down pass as Ari­zona Car­di­nals corner­back Pa­trick Peter­son (21) de­fends dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL foot­ball game in Glen­dale, Ariz.

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