BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two days after Damar Hamlin’s injury in the Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, members of the opposing team addressed what happened for the first time.
Less than 10 minutes into the contest at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium, Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest after making a tackle and collapsed on the field. After being administered CPR on the field, he was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.
In media sessions on Wednesday, Bengals players and head coach Zac Taylor described what it was like Monday night and since.
“It’s something that I’ve never seen on a football field before,” quarterback Joe Burrow said. “Something that was and is scary and emotional and you just try to get around the people [who] you love and who love you and deal with it the way everybody does. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it.”
Bengals players discussed that even though they may not know Hamlin personally, that there is a brotherhood among all NFL players.
“We were all feeling the same way,” Burrow said. “We’re all brothers in this thing. We’re all part of the same institution, playing this game that we love for each other. I didn’t know how to react to it, I was just trying to go out there and show unity and show support.”
“We see injuries all the time, but something like that is not what you see on a football field. Then the pure emotions of everybody out there, I don’t know how you ask guys to go back out there and continue the football game after that,” Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader added. “How do you feel about him, his family, just seeing him get carted off, going to the hospital and knowing what they have to do.” Reader said that he knew that as soon as it happened, he wouldn’t be able to go on with the rest of the game.
Taylor described the scene in the timeframe of the 66 minutes when Hamlin went down at 8:55 p.m. to when the game was called at 10:01 p.m.
“I won’t disclose any of the private conversations Sean [McDermott] and I had, but this: when I got over there, the first thing he said was ‘I need to be at the hospital with Damar and I shouldn’t be coaching this game,'” Taylor said. “That, to me, provides all the clarity. Unprecedented is the word that’s been getting thrown out a lot about this situation because that’s what it is, but in that moment, he really showed who he was. All his focus was on Damar.”
He later described the scene when the Bengals’ captains visited the Bills’ locker room to show support once the teams had left the field.
“They told me that they wanted to speak to the captains for the Bills. In the moment I wasn’t sure how to take that information, I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do there was,” Taylor said. “But when you saw both of those groups and players interacting, you immediately knew that that was the right decision. I think both sides needed that.”
He said he understood the emotions of the Bills as well.
“Make no mistake, this was a man that was in their locker room that they had deep relationships with, that they had helped grow and develop, spent a lot of time with,” Taylor said.
The Bengals, along with the rest of the NFL, are continuing to hope for a positive result.
Taylor said, “We’re all praying for the best possible outcome here.”
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