Four days after his shocking on-field cardiac arrest, Buffalo Bills safety Tamar Hamlin Breathe on your own and talking to family, doctors and teammates — positive announcements that Bills players say will bolster them for this weekend’s matchup against the New England Patriots.
“To hear him talk to us, that’s everything, that’s what we need. That’s really all we need,” Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins said of the team’s Friday video call with Hamlin, who is still being treated at a Cincinnati hospital.
Hamlin — who was unconscious and placed on a ventilator after collapsing Monday — began waking up later this week and was able to remove his breathing tube by Friday morning, doctors said.
“Love you boys,” the 24-year-old told his team via FaceTime on Friday, head coach Sean McDermott said, as Hamlin folded his arms and made his signature heart-shaped hand gesture during the call.
Since his collapse during the “Monday Night Football” game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin is “making remarkable progress in his recovery” and “his neurological function remains intact,” the Bills said. He tweeted that Friday, citing his doctors.
Dawkins described an emotional “roller coaster” for the team this week as he watched in shock as Hamlin received CPR on the field and was taken from the stadium in an ambulance. But he said news of Hamlin’s significant improvement “will definitely fuel us” for the team’s Sunday clash against the Patriots.
“The excitement was beautiful, it was amazing,” he said of the call with Hamlin. “It’s given us a lot of energy and a very bright, high spirit — whatever you want to call it — and it’s given us to see that guy’s face.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Hamlin’s continued recovery is “uplifting news” for the city of Buffalo, which has been hit by several tragedies recently. Racist mass shootings And at least the brutal blizzard left behind 41 people died in Erie County.
“What happened to Tamar Hamlin, his injury, another gut punch to the city of Buffalo, and to see him recover so remarkably is certainly inspiring throughout our community and across the country,” Brown told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Friday.
After Hamlin’s emergency game was watched live by millions, a wave of support emerged from fans and strangers across the country, many of whom bought his jersey or donated to him. Charitable Fund of the Trust, which has reached $8 million raised as of Saturday morning. Teams across the NFL have rallied behind the Bills player by wearing No. 3, lighting up stadiums and scoreboards and sharing words of solidarity.
The displays of support will continue this weekend as the league prepares for an emotional return to the final games of the regular season on Saturday and Sunday. The NFL plans to honor Hamlin before every game.
The NFL announced Thursday that the Bills-Bengals game — which was initially postponed Monday night — would not be restarted or made up.
The cancellation has no effect on which teams qualify for the playoffs, as both the Bills and Bengals have already clinched spots. But the disparity in the number of games played prompted the league to recognize it Unprecedented arrangements For the postseason based on how the Bills and Bengals are seeded and their potential opponents.
As players head into the final week of the regular season, the NFL has announced several ways teams can honor Hamlin before these finals, including holding a “moment of support” before games or outlining a “3” at the 30-yard line. Red or blue colors of bills.
Players can wear shirts emblazoned with “Love for Tamar 3” during warmups and the Bills will wear “3” patches on their jerseys, the NFL said.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane — who stayed with Hamlin and his family in Cincinnati following the game’s postponement — praised the message of unified support across the league this week, noting how characteristically competitive the game is.
“Yes, we are going to war. But ultimately, life is the number one battle,” Bean said Friday. “To see the unity of players, coaches, (general managers), owners, fans is unheard of. But I think it’s a good light. It shines a big light on the NFL. The NFL is truly a family.
The NFL Players Association named Hamlin its Community MVP in Week 18, and the organization announced a $10,000 donation to his Chasing M Foundation.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders, who was able to video chat with Hamlin, said, “Do you know you’re the most famous person in the world right now?”
Hamlin replied, “But not for the right reasons,” said Sanders, who told Hamlin, “You’re blessed, brother, you don’t know how blessed you are.”
Sanders describes Hamlin as his best friend and said the two talked after every game NFL Network reporter James Palmer.