As Hamlin’s condition improves, the NFL rallies to help Hamlin

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — At the safety of the Indianapolis Colts, an anesthetized Dummer Hamlin lay in front of him in a Cincinnati hospital bed surrounded by machines supplying oxygen and fluids. A certain Rodney Thomas offered his friend some words of encouragement.

“I told him, I got him. That’s it,” Thomas said Wednesday. “Just saying the same thing. I got his back. You’re going to get over it.”

For Thomas, it didn’t matter if the safety of the Buffalo Bills could hear him. A former high school teammate) and being close to the player’s family.

“It calmed me down and made it a lot easier to go home,” Thomas said. I have him, the world has him.”

Two days after 24-year-old Hamlin’s heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated A huge amount of support followed on the field during the game for the Bengals.

After fans held vigils at the Bills’ home in Cincinnati and New York’s Orchard Park, On Tuesday, it was time for the NFL community (those who knew Hamlin or hadn’t heard of him until Monday) to voice their support for most teams returning to practice.

Although he is still on sedatives, Hamlin’s recovery from cardiac arrest is progressing in a “positive direction,” Jordon Rooney, the player’s marketing rep, told The Associated Press by phone.

“We are all optimistic,” Rooney said, adding that Hamlin’s family had asked him not to go into further details.

Bills said Hamlin was still in critical condition but showed signs of improvement. They said he is expected to remain in intensive care.

Rooney said Hamlin’s family has been buoyed by the kind words and actions the second-year player has received since he was taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“They are overjoyed now,” Rooney said. “Damar is still their first concern. prize.”

The family is quickly discovering just how much of an impression Hamlin has made.

New York Giants coach and former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daball wore Hamlin’s No. 3 cap.

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips delivered dinner to the hospital for Hamlin’s family and medical staff.

“Dummer was near my locker and helped me with my foundation because of his giving nature during my time in Buffalo,” Phillips said. I was a little surprised at how many people had no relationship, no connection, and how much they were affected because of our brotherhood.”

In Denver, rookie cornerback Damari Mathis was too uncomfortable telling the Broncos about former University of Pittsburgh teammate Hamlin. Interim coach Jerry Rosberg spoke for him.

“Dear Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills, your teammate and our teammate Damari Mathis has told you all about you. And he talked about your amazing ability to lead people into loving commitment to others, community service, and nurturing others. Today, Damar, we honor you.”

Meanwhile, the Bills were still dealing with the shock of seeing a teammate go down on the field without a heartbeat after a tackle.

After returning home early Tuesday morning after the game was suspended, the Bills held a meeting and walkthrough practice without media on Wednesday. Prior to that, we plan to resume practice on Thursday.

NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent said his discussions with Bills coach Sean McDermott focused solely on mental health and how McDermott and the team are coping with what happened. He said he guessed it.

“It’s tough. The coaches are still fighting,” Vincent said, his voice trembling.

The Patriots also postponed media availability to Thursday, saying the NFL had approved giving both teams an extra day “due to these unique circumstances.”

It remains unclear whether the NFL will reschedule The Bills’ game against the Bengals is huge in determining the top spot in the AFC. The playoffs are scheduled to start on January 14th.

The Chiefs (13-3) lead at half a game against the Buffaloes (12-3), and the Bills beat Kansas City to win the tiebreaker this season. The Bengals (11-4) are currently the No. 3 seed and have also beaten the Chiefs.

Hamlin was injured when he took a direct hit to the chest in the first quarter while making what appeared to be a regular tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up briefly, adjusted his facemask, and then fell backwards.

Hamlin was drafted by Pitt to Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. He spent his rookie season limited to a special teams role, taking over his starting safety job in Week 3 to replace veteran Micah Hyde, who is sidelined with his neck injury.

Fans, team owners and players, including Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, donated to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which had raised more than $6.6 million by late Wednesday afternoon.

“Damar wants to use this to help others. Rooney told reporters at the hospital that he would hate to think about himself and not get positive results.” “So that’s Damar. That is, his whole life is spent in providing and serving others. That’s exactly who he is.”

Note: The Bills signed S Jared Maiden from the New York Jets practice team and released CB Xavier Rose. … Bills, in honor of Hamlin, did not list him on the injury report.


AP Pro Football Writers Rob Murdy, Dave Campbell, and Ernie Stapleton, and AP Sports Writers Michael Marott, Steven Wyno, Andrew Seligman, and Dave Skretta contributed to this report.


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