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O'HARA: Diggs making the most of the road trip back home

HOUSTON – As he does with most things related to football and his personal life, Quandre Diggs is making the most of a road trip back home.

He has work to do on the football field as the Detroit Lions’ starting safety, with the joint practices against the Houston Texans Wednesday and Thursday before the teams meet in the second preseason game at NRG Stadium on Saturday night.

And as part of the many community projects Diggs participates in, he had a trip home less than a hour drive south of Houston to give away backpacks to kids at Angleton High School, where Diggs first made his mark in football.

It’s a busy time for Diggs, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

From his first breath of the hot, humid air when he stepped off the plane Tuesday evening, Diggs felt at home – and back to his football roots.

“As soon as we landed, I was excited – super excited,” Diggs said. “I don’t really show too much emotion. At the end of the day, it’s great to be home.

“It’s dope, man. I’ve been around here my whole life – born and raised in Texas. It’s good to come home. I get to see some of my family. I get to do some things with the community while I’m here.”

First and foremost, he had some work to do on the practice field. He enjoyed working against the Texans and getting a break from the training camp routine of going against teammates like Kenny Golladay and Matthew Stafford.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I’m tired of seeing Kenny and nine (Stafford) every day. I want to see some other teams. I’ve got some friends on the Texans. I know a few of the guys out there.”

Diggs has gradually risen in stature since the Lions drafted him the sixth round out of Texas in 2015. He was primarily a cornerback his first two seasons.

View photos from Day 16 of Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage.

He was always a heady player with sharp instincts for the game. He blossomed when he was moved to safety during the 2017 season. He had his first three interceptions, and all three came from Weeks 11-16 after the move to safety.

He was the full-time safety last year, starting all 16 games and intercepting three passes again.

With the retirement of Glover Quin, the starter at free safety the last five seasons, Diggs has taken on more of a leadership role, as has Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay.

Head coach Matt Patricia appreciates the versatility – and high quality that goes with it – that Diggs adds to the defense, and on special teams as an occasional return man.

“He does a good job for us and is one of the guys in our particular scheme that we try to do different things with,” Patricia said. “That was one of the things when I first got here that he was really receptive and understood the philosophy behind why we do those things with him, and kind of put him in different roles.

“Off the field, he’s obviously a great guy. He really does a lot for the community, and he’s a family man.”

Diggs became a father for the first time when his girlfriend, Abby Evans, gave birth to a girl, Ariya.

Diggs grew up in a football environment, from high school through four years as a starting cornerback at Texas. His brother, Quentin Jammer, was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2002. He started 162 games in 12 seasons.

Despite what he has accomplished, and what likely lies ahead of him, Diggs isn’t resting on the laurels of what he has accomplished.

“Its amazing,” he said. “I come from the bottom – a sixth-round draft pick. Every day, I remember that. “

Never satisfied that he’s made it?

“No,” he said. “I don’t live like that. You’ve never made it in this world.”

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