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Texans WR Stefon Diggs grateful for time in Buffalo despite 'ups and downs,' 'happy' to be in Houston

In his first interview since being traded from Buffalo to Houston, Stefon Diggs took the high road.

He expressed gratitude for his time with the Bills, where he caught 445 passes for 5,372 yards and 37 touchdowns and became a perennial Pro Bowler. He recognized Josh Allen for his efforts in their partnership. And eventually, he explained where it all went wrong.

"He was an intricate piece of my career," Diggs said Tuesday of Allen, the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback of the Bills. "At that point, when I left Minnesota, I was a good player. But I always felt more for myself. I felt like I was better than that -- that I could be better than that. And kind of up to that point, I was just like 'S---. I'm going to roll the dice and bet on myself.'

"When I got to Buffalo, Josh was and still is my guy. People don't really understand what it's like to be out there. He really embraced me. He kind of had that southern hospitality. We spent a lot of time together and I probably wouldn't be right here if it wasn't for him. I got a lot of love for that boy, so y'all give him a hug and a kiss for me."

Diggs truly blossomed in Buffalo, where in four seasons he exceeded his totals recorded in five years in Minnesota. But Diggs' departure could be seen coming for some time. He expressed his displeasure and frustration with Buffalo's repeated failures to finish deep playoff runs with Super Bowl appearances, and during mandatory minicamp in 2023, a brief absence caused an internal issue that forced Allen to answer for his teammate.

Still, the production was worth the antics and the $104 million due to Diggs over four years. When that was no longer true -- such as when Joe Brady replaced Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator during the 2023 season and Diggs' usage dropped significantly -- the time came to move Diggs.

The receiver said he felt in 2023 a parting would happen at some point.

"We had some ups and downs especially after the first eight (games). We got a coaching shift and different things going different ways, different schemes," Diggs said. "You know the ups and downs of it. But for me, you kind of felt it in the air a little bit. When I got traded, I was happy. I was in a good place. Like I said, I told God to light my path and here I am. So, he makes no mistakes."

Houston not only snagged Diggs via trade, but also followed the move by tearing up his existing contract and signing him to a new one-year deal that affords Diggs a chance to earn another payday in 2025, should he prove worthy in 2024.

So far, so good.

"What I've seen is a guy who I thought we would get," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said of Diggs on Tuesday. "A guy who's made plays and every time we've thrown him the ball, he's come down with it. Sure-handed guy. A really good teammate, a great energy around the building and in a locker room with the guys. So I'm excited to continue to see his growth."

Quarterback C.J. Stroud lit the league on fire in his rookie season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year in a landslide and even garnering some outside consideration for NFL Most Valuable Player. He did so while teaming with the likes of Nico Collins, Robert Woods, Dalton Schultz and fellow rookie Tank Dell. Adding Diggs to that group was massive.

If Stroud starts 2024 by picking up where he left off last season, the new collaboration should produce big numbers for both parties.

"He's been fitting in great. He's come in with his head down and just working," Stroud said of Diggs. "He's helping me out a lot. ... He's come in and been a leader, which I'm proud of him for. He's really been unselfish and wanted to see other guys eat. That was his main thing -- he wanted to be around other dogs. He stepped into that role where there's a dog everywhere. He wanted that and that's what we bring to the table."

Diggs is undoubtedly fortunate to run routes for not one, but two dog-like quarterbacks in his career in Allen and Stroud. As Houston loads up on talent surrounding Stroud, the Texans should aim to run out of room at the kennel. Order the dry food and bones in bulk. For the Texans, 2024 is the time to eat.

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