ORCHARD PARK, NY — Three weeks after suffering cardiac arrest on the field during a game in Cincinnati, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin joined his teammates on Sunday to watch their AFC Divisional playoff game against the Bengals.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Hamlin appeared on the stadium’s video board, opening the window of the suite where he was watching the game and making his signature “heart” sign to an explosion of cheers from the Bills loyalists.
“I thought it was a pretty cool moment; the game didn’t have the trend we wanted, but when they put it on the big screen, it was just a great moment, keeping perspective on where it was just a few weeks ago,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said after the 27-10 loss.
It was Hamlin’s first public appearance since the Jan. 2 game between the Bills and the Bengals which was suspended and then canceled when Hamlin’s heart stopped beating after he tackled wide receiver Tee Higgins.
McDermott said Hamlin visited the team pre-game in the locker room.
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“Just the fact that he was in the locker room, his presence, I think was good for the guys and hopefully good for him,” McDermott said.
“So super happy for him and grateful that his health is coming back and I know he will continue to take it one day at a time.”
After spending a week in intensive care in Cincinnati before returning home to Buffalo to continue his recovery, Hamlin returned to the locker room at Highmark Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the help of security personnel – as the Bills said. documented on social media.
The CBS pregame show aired a clip of Hamlin riding with two other people in the security vehicle. The network also showed her mother and younger brother in attendance.
“His presence alone speaks volumes,” Bills center Mitch Morse said. “He’s not a great rah-rah. I’m sure at some point he gets a little tired of people asking him how he’s doing or putting him in a position he didn’t ask to. His mere presence, his smile, his positive energy, which he always had, always injects energy and good vibes with the group.
“It was really good to see him. I’m really happy for the fans, the crowd, that he can go there. He’s worked really hard to get to the position he’s in right now.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott said Hamlin began visiting team facilities regularly soon after he was released from hospital in what he described as “twisting his toe here and setting out to come back to himself”.
Contributor: The Associated Press