Buffalo Bills wideout Sammy Watkins recently snapped a Facebook picture of his chip stack at the 2016 WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee event. But while it’s nice to see another celebrity playing in poker tournaments, it appears that he skipped the Bills’ voluntary workouts to do so.
The chip-stack picture has caused a mini-news uproar because the NFL’s take on “voluntary” workouts is that you’d better be there, or at least have a good reason for not attending.
That said, Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan is already fielding questions about Watkins’ absence.
“I said I wasn’t going to talk about anybody being here or not being here,” said Ryan. “We weren’t 100 percent for attendance, but a couple of guys gave me phone calls, all that stuff.”
Perhaps Watkins’ decision to attend the WSOP Circuit tournament wouldn’t be so controversial if he hadn’t already complained about his role in the Bills’ offense last year.
“Everybody looks at you getting zero catches, zero yards but when you look on film 90 percent of the time you’re open,” Watkins said. “I understand that these guys are young and they need some time to trust me. Once we get that trust, it’ll be different. But for me, I need the ball at least 10 times – I need 10 targets – and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get.”
As CBS Sports states, Ryan agreed with Watkins’ assessment and engineered more plays his way throughout the season. The result was the best numbers of Watkins’ two-year career, including 1,047 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
However, Ryan will no doubt be unhappy that his star receiver decided to skip voluntary workouts ahead of a season where the Bills are looking for redemption. They finished 8-8 last year after being expected to improve upon 2014’s record of 9-7.