Did Zac Taylor take subtle dig at Tee Higgins while praising Ja'Marr Chase?

Carolina Panthers v Cincinnati Bengals
Carolina Panthers v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had some very positive things to say about Ja'Marr Chase's presence at mandatory minicamp this offseason. Taylor was impressed with Chase's physical condition, as well as his approach to mentoring some of his newer teammates.

“It was good to get him back in here. He’s in great shape,” Taylor said of Chase. “When someone’s not been here, you don’t want to rush him into things, but he clearly has done a great job this offseason. Really happy to get him back in the building. He was in all the meetings, did all the walkthroughs and all that stuff, and then did a great job mentoring some of the other players as he was out there during practice."

Did Taylor take a subtle shot at Higgins?

But while Chase was present at minicamp, another Bengals star receiver was a no-show. After requesting a trade at the onset of free agency, Tee Higgins has remained away from the team so far this offseason as he seeks a new contract. As he was praising Chase, Taylor may have taken a subtle dig at Higgins.

"I thought we got what we needed out of him and was appreciative of him even though it is mandatory," Taylor said of Chase. "You see there are still guys that aren’t always there and he showed up and did everything that we talked about him doing.”

There's a legitimate chance that Taylor didn't mean anything by this comment and was strictly trying to compliment Chase for his professional behavior. However, adding in the part about "guys that aren't always there" while crediting Chase for being there is enough to make one wonder. Sometimes you have to read between the lines.

If asked about it, Taylor would probably deny that it was a subtle shot, but his true intention may remain a mystery.