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Buffalo Bills Players Can’t Wait to ‘Love Up On’ Hamlin After Health Update


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — On Wednesday night, Mario Hamlin, the daddy of Bills safety Damar Hamlin, addressed all the Buffalo Bills squad in a video conference from Cincinnati. He and his wife, Nina, had been bedside at a hospital with their son, but desired to deliver a message to the team.

Buffalo Coach Sean McDermott recounted for reporters the gist of that missive for reporters the subsequent day: Damar, Mario said, would want the team to play.

Each McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that the message — combined with Damar Hamlin’s improving condition as he continues to be treated after suffering a cardiac arrest in Monday’s game — was the lift the Bills needed to encourage them to deal with their jobs, at the same time as they proceed to hope and worry about their teammate and friend.

Hamlin, 24, collapsed after making what gave the impression to be a routine tackle of Bengals receiver Tee Higgins during a game broadcast on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

What followed was a harrowing 10 minutes as medical professionals attended to him on the sector and administered CPR, while Bills players knelt in a circle around him. On the sidelines, players wept and hugged. Broadcasters, the shock also evident of their voices, attempted to narrate the scene as Hamlin was eventually placed in an ambulance and rushed to a hospital.

The sport was suspended, after McDermott consulted with this team, the officials, and Bengals Coach Zac Taylor. The league announced Thursday night that the sport wouldn’t be accomplished.

Throughout the video conference Wednesday, McDermott said Mario Hamlin’s message encouraged the Bills.

“The team must get back to specializing in the goals that they’d set for themselves, that Damar would have wanted it that way,” McDermott recounted. “And so that features our game against Recent England this week.”

Each Allen and McDermott answered questions from the news media for about 40 minutes, describing the terrifying scene and their efforts this week to each process their emotions and prepare for a football game Sunday at home against the Recent England Patriots that even the coach and players agreed seemed trivial in comparison with what happened to Hamlin.

“The scene just plays time and again in your head,” Allen said. “It’s hard to really describe how I felt, how my teammates felt in the mean time.”

But to learn that Hamlin was writing messages and holding hands with family members just three days after coming near losing his life on the sector, Allen said, “There’s nothing you can have told us to bring our day down after that.”

Allen said he and his teammates were looking forward to reuniting with Hamlin so that they can “love up on him.”

McDermott, who has made players’ mental well-being a priority of his coaching style, said after the Bills returned from Cincinnati that there have been impromptu team meetings and counselors available for players and staff.

“Mental health is real,” McDermott said. “The health and well-being of your staff and your players is the No. 1 job of a coach in this example.”

Allen said he invited all his teammates to his home this week, and those that joined him prayed and hung out together to decompress and discuss Hamlin.

Bills cornerback Dane Jackson, who also played with Hamlin on the University of Pittsburgh, said the 2 men share a special bond. Before every game, Jackson said, he and Hamlin normally found one another on the sidelines, where they might hug and tell one another, “I like you.”

It was a convention that Jackson considered often after he experienced a daunting neck injury during Week 2 of this season. As he was being loaded into an ambulance, one voice stood out amongst all his teammates, he said. It was Hamlin’s.

“He said, ‘I like you, D-Jack,’” Jackson said. He looks forward to reuniting along with his friend, so he can relay the identical message.

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