Bills’ Hamlin collapses on field during MNF, gets CPR

MITCH STACY Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night and was administered CPR before being rushed to a hospital, where the NFL said he was in critical condition and Buffalo’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals was canceled for the night exposed.

A little over an hour after the injury, the NFL announced that it would not resume play. When or if the teams would return to the field was not immediately clear.

“Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills. We will provide more information as it becomes available,” the league said in a statement. “The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association, which agrees with the game’s postponement.”

Hamlin clashed with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins after a finish in what appeared to be a routine, if violent, tackle. He stood up, seemed to adjust his face mask with his right hand, then fell back about three seconds later and lay motionless.

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Hamlin was treated on the field by a team and independent medical staff and local paramedics, the NFL said. He was surrounded by stunned players from both teams.

Four minutes after Hamlin collapsed, an ambulance was on the field and many players were crying, including cornerback Tre’Davious White. The quarterbacks — Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow — hugged.

Hamlin collapsed at 8:55 p.m., and when he was taken off the field 16 minutes later, the Bills gathered for prayer. He was driven to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Five minutes after the ambulance left, play was suspended and the players slowly left the field and went to their dressing rooms.

Hamlin’s uniform was cut off and he appeared to be revived by medical personnel. ESPN reported on its TV show that Hamlin was also given oxygen.

“No one went through that,” longtime NFL quarterback Troy Aikman told the ESPN show. “I’ve never seen anything like it either.”

The Bengals led 7-3 in the first quarter of a game between teams vying for the top playoff seed in the AFC. Cincinnati went 11-4 and led the AFC North by a game over Baltimore while AFC East champions Buffalo were 12-3.

The aftermath of the injury recalled when Bill’s tight end Kevin Everett lay motionless on the field after a tackle in the second half of Buffalo’s 2007 season opener against the Denver Broncos.

Everett suffered a spinal cord injury that initially left him partially paralyzed.

Hamlin, 24, spent five years at college in Pitt – his hometown – and appeared in 48 games for the Panthers during that span. As a senior, he was a second-team All-ACC player, was elected team captain, and was selected to the Senior Bowl.

He was drafted in the sixth round by the Bills in 2021, played in 14 games as a rookie and became a starter this year after losing Micah Hyde for the season through injury.

At the start of the game, the 6-foot, 200-pound Hamlin had 91 tackles, including 63 solo tackles, and 1 1/2 sacks.

A tweet from the Pitt Football account was simple and clear: “Damar Hamlin is the best of us. We love you 3,” the tweet said, referencing Hamlin by his college jersey number. “Praying for you.”

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