Stefon Diggs calls move to Texans 'a breath of fresh air'

ByDJ Bien-Aime ESPN logo
Saturday, June 8, 2024

HOUSTON -- InStefon Diggs' first news conference since being traded to theTexansfrom the Buffalo Bills, the receiver emphasized how happy he is to be in Houston by calling the opportunity "a breath of fresh air."

Diggs believes he has been embraced by the Texans' organization and said that's why he has been smiling a lot since landing in Texas.

"They're very welcoming," Diggs said. "Very open arms, and I just feel like it's important for me to be a part of things like that. It's genuine. You thrive in that space. You thrive in a space where you're loved. Thrive in a space of being around those who truly care and truly want to see you win."

Despite routine success with Buffalo over the years, as last season headed for another disappointing playoff loss, the tension between Diggs and the Bills became apparent and his future with the team grew uncertain. When Diggs spoke earlier in the week about whether he had expected to be traded, he said, "It was going in that direction."

But his production speaks for itself, and the Texans have seen glimpses of what made Diggs first in receptions (445), fourth in touchdowns (37) and fourth in receiving yards (5,372) since the Minnesota Vikings traded him to the Bills in 2020.

"Diggs has come in and been a leader, which I'm proud of him for, just really has been unselfish and wanted to see other guys eat," Texans quarterbackC.J. Stroudsaid. "That was his main thing. He wanted to be around other dogs, and he stepped into that role where there is a dog everywhere. He looks right, he looks left, there is going to be a dog. He wanted that and that's what we bring to the table. He's been nothing but amazing so far, and I am very excited to work with him."

Diggs was added to help elevate Stroud as he enters Year 2 after capturing Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2023. A receiver room with Nico Collins, who signed a three-year, $72.75 million extension in May, Tank Delland Diggs could propel an offense that ranked 13th in scoring (22.7) to another level.

During OTAs and minicamp, the connection between Diggs and Stroud has been noticeable as Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik has used him in multiple receiver spots.

And even when Diggs hasn't received the ball, his presence has opened up space for Dell and Collins as Stroud found them for big gains.

But what stands out as much as Diggs' skill is his determination.

"The man is just so competitive, and it shows on tape," Slowik said. "He is a lot like our quarterback in that he will do absolutely anything necessary to win the game, whether he doesn't have the ball, he has the ball in his hands, at all times he is in between the white lines and doing everything he can to win."

Diggs, a four-time Pro Bowler, has challenged defensive backs to make them better while providing wisdom to his fellow receivers when they have questions.

And whenever the 30-year-old veteran sees one of his offensive teammates making a play, he's right there to congratulate them.

"I've been around the league for a little while now," Diggs said, "so earning the respect of your peers first and earning the respect of your coaches, being where you're supposed to be, and taking your time each and every day, I take it pretty serious."

Diggs has been seen showing visible frustration occasionally on the sidelines in his past two stops, but he said those incidents were just him expressing a desire to win.

"I don't take things personal from people I don't know, personally," Diggs said. "I try not to dive into how I feel about certain things or people's opinions. Who I am as a player, they know who I am, and I'm a true competitor. I love to win. I love getting better, that's who I am as a person. This is a job at the end of the day. We build a family environment with the team. Those guys would know me personally, that's why I earn the respect of them first, along with my coaches."

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