Bills wide receiver Stephon Diggs stood on the field, staring straight ahead, and tears welled up in his eyes. “Come. Come.”
The ESPN broadcast showed fullback Reggie Gilliam holding hands with tight end Dawson Knox as they stood on the field praying.
Quarterbacks Josh Allen of Buffalo and Joe Burrow of Cincinnati hugged the field with teary eyes. I took the team to the locker room.
Shortly after 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, the NFL suspended play for the rest of the night.
“The NFL is big business, the NFL has to stay in business, the NFL has to stay entertained,” former Washington safety and now ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said on the network’s broadcast. “But if the NFL isn’t sending people to the locker room, if the NFL isn’t flying people to Cincinnati or Buffalo or wherever they want to go now, they’re missing the point. Make sure these guys are okay and then we can play football and what I’m trying to tell you is if you put them out tomorrow you’re going to get a trash game anyway Because… the important thing is Damar Hamlin.
As the wave of shock swept over the stadium, current and former players in the sport and others shared messages of prayer and hope on social media.
The damn game should be canceled.. What’s the debate?… Athletes are human first! If you need a reminder, here it is
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 3, 2023
Devon Still was a second-round pick by the Bengals in 2012. murmured: “This game is a dream for many, but it quickly turns into a nightmare. I hope Damar gets over it.”
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury in 2017 with a hit, was among many. urged Prayers for Hamlin and his family.
Others in the sports world encouraged the same.
“please [prayer emoji] Renowned basketball commentator Dick Vitale wrote for Dummer Hamlin murmured“I’ve never seen an incident like this in my life… I wish you good news! Football is the least important thing right now.”
Added Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: ‘I’m praying hard.. Please be okay.’
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James retweeted the video From the beginning of Hamlin’s season hugging his family before the game.Former tight end Rob Gronkowski recirculates Tweet from Bills official account It included a photo of the team gathering together in prayer.
“All love and many prayers to Damar and his family and #BillsMafia.” Gronkowski wrote.
Praying hard for Dumar and his family right now… 🙏🏾
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 3, 2023
Absolutely speechless.. Get out of Damar!
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) January 3, 2023
Prayers for Damar Hamlin and his family. 🙏
— Mac Jones (@MacJones_10) January 3, 2023
I told myself I would die for this game. My world revolved around soccer games. I have regretted that statement for a very long time. I pray for this young man. God bless him!
— Travis Beckham (@TravisBeckum47) January 3, 2023
It’s so hard to see what happened tonight.happy @nfl I canceled the game. Hope all goes well for Damar! Praying for him and his family!!
— Dwight Freeney (@dwightfreeney) January 3, 2023
No one cares about this game anymore. I pray for my man, my son, my brother, my friend Dahmer Hamlin. What happened was traumatic for so many people, but the important thing now is that he is with us.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 3, 2023
Please continue to think and pray for DeMar Hamlin and his family. The NFL doesn’t have a manual on how to react after an incident like this. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾#Monday Night Football #BillsVsBengals
— Shannon Sharp (@ShannonSharpe) January 3, 2023
Join us in prayer for Dumar Hamlin 🙏
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) January 3, 2023
Remind everyone that this is a dangerous game we play. We are risking our bodies to participate in the sport we all love. Prayers to Dham and his family.🙏🏾🖤
— Anthony Miller (@AnthonyMiller_3) January 3, 2023