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Bills' McDermott on Vontae Davis: 'His actions spoke loud and clear'

Vontae Davis can save his explanation for why he ditched his teammates in the middle of a game.

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott doesn't want or need to hear it.

Davis said Monday that he has not spoken with Davis since the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback left New Era Field at halftime of Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and later announced his retirement on social media.

"I have not been in touch with Vontae today," McDermott said. "His actions spoke loud and clear, so I didn’t feel the need to. I’m focused on my team right now."

Davis claimed in his retirement statement that he meant no disrespect to his coaches or former teammates, but the timing of his decision to literally walk away from the game left Bills players fuming.

National commentators, including former players and coaches, have since put Davis on blast.

Former Bills coach Rex Ryan called Davis' decision "a joke" and the "ultimate disrespect."

"You don't quit," Ryan said on ESPN. "For him not to think he was disrespectful to his teammates that are fighting their butts off and everything else — I mean, it is the ultimate disrespect, I think. Look, you're gonna quit, quit on Monday. It's an embarrassment."

Former offensive lineman Damien Woody, a 12-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champ, said he wanted to fight Davis during a segment on ESPN.

“As a player, there's nothing funny about this,” Woody said. “Honestly, I'm sitting here right now and my blood is boiling right now. Like, I would literally want to fight this cat. Because here's the problem I have. You've known for a while now that you've been contemplating this, so you should have taken your behind to the coach and been like, ‘You know what, I'm done.’ But you're going to wait until game day, where we're all depending on the next man ... you're only as good as the next guy you're playing with, and then you're going to pull a punk move and walk out, basically while nobody is watching, nobody can see you, and just take your stuff and run? What kind of punk does stuff like that? You just walk out on me?”

Even those with more measured responses were critical.

"It doesn't filter at all," Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said on Fox Sports, "because the one thing we say, even the players and the coaches, we detach ourselves from the front office. It's like, 'It's us. We're in this together, and if you can depend on nothing else, you can depend on me as your brother.' And it's just not something that we've ever seen before. ... We just don't see veteran players, guys who have made a lot of money off this business (leave in this manner), because there's a way to do things."

Jason Wolf: Bills are better off without Vontae Davis

Davis responded to the blowback on Monday, tweeting "ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME" but deleted the post after a few minutes.

Davis later retweeted a post from former Texans running back Arian Foster, who wrote, "this football culture has somehow brainwashed people and players that your health as a human, being prioritized over a sport is somehow disloyal. this isn't a desk job. when your heart isn't in it fully you can hurt your self or others, for good. walk away when you know it's time."

McDermott said the Bills were concentrating on preparing for Sunday's game at Minnesota.

"I just know that they’re focused right now on continuing to improve," McDermott said. "We had a good film session a few minutes ago. The guys were into it and certainly accountable for what went on, which I appreciate. We all need to be accountable."

McDermott said he did not address the situation with his team.

The coach wouldn't divulge specifics about what he said to his players, but indicated that his message was quick.

"I’m not going to get into what I said," McDermott said, "but generally speaking, there’s no need to address it because we’re moving on. That’s what a team does. This is not going to become a distraction for us. We’re going to move forward and like I said, his actions spoke, and I heard everything he needed to say through that.

"I’ve got a lot of respect for Vontae. He’s a good person. I certainly appreciate the way he worked when he was in here, but we’re moving forward as a football team."

Davis remains on the roster, although a roster move is expected.

Davis' departure leaves the team with two healthy cornerbacks in Tre'Davious White and undrafted free agent Lafayette Pitts. Taron Johnson (shoulder) and Phillip Gaines (elbow) are considered day to day, McDermott said.

The NFL has granted the Bills a roster exemption, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

There are two corners on the practice squad, Ryan Lewis and rookie Levi Wallace.

Promoting Lewis seems like the most logical move.

He was claimed off waivers from New England at final cuts and on the active roster for the season opener at Baltimore. Though he's only been with the team for two weeks, that's likely better than a guy walking in off the street.

McDermott said he there is no ill will, despite the way Davis decided to retire.

"This is where you develop some personal relationships with these young men," McDermott said. "You always want the best for them. This is not a deal where we wish him anything but the best. He had a heck of a career."

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he was surprised, like everyone else, when Davis pulled himself from the game.

"I was obviously taken off guard," Frazier said. "I spoke to him on the bench for a series, but it wasn't clear to me why he wasn't ready to go back in. I thought he had an injury. I was waiting on the trainers, someone to give me a cue or a clue as to what was going on. But I had to get my mind back to the game. And then afterwards, of course I learned the details about what was going on.

"We wish him nothing but the best. I hope things work out for Vontae, whatever he chooses to do. Hopefully he'll learn from this experience."

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