It was just a few short months ago that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was at the epicenter of one of the most terrifying moments in NFL history.
It was in the penultimate Monday Night Football game of the 2022 season that Hamlin’s heart stopped shortly after tackling Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin collapsed on-field and was quickly administered CPR.
Damar Hamlin Returns to Practice Field
Injury stoppages and stretchers are far from uncommon sights in football. Most fans are desensitized to them. But life-saving measures being taken on the football field is a much rarer occurrence.
It’s been over a quarter-century since an on-field injury necessitated CPR in an NFL game. Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown was the last player to receive on-field CPR, back in 1997, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Brown would, unfortunately, never suit up again. Hamlin, however, has previously expressed a desire to retake the field. And he recently took a humongous step toward doing so.
Per Pro Football Talk via NBC Sports, Hamlin recently took part in individual drills at the Bills’ OTAs. That same story links to video of the aforementioned third-year safety out of Pittsburgh hitting a blocking sled and running some coverage drills.
MORE: Buffalo Bills OTAs Preview 2023
Granted, these drills were unpadded and featured very minimal contact. But given where Hamlin was just a mere four months ago, he’s made tremendous progress.
After all, it wasn’t even two months ago that Hamlin (courtesy of PFT) told reigning President Joe Biden when asked of his intent to play football again: “I think so…god willing.”
Bills general manager Brandon Beane provided confirmation of Hamlin’s readiness soon thereafter. Per PFT’s Myles Simmons, Hamlin saw three different specialists, all of whom cleared him to return.
”They’re all in agreement — it’s not two to one or three to one or anything like that — they’re all in lockstep of what this was and that he is cleared to resume full activities just like anyone else that was coming back from an injury,” Beane said. “He’s fully cleared. He’s here. And he is of the mindset — he’s in a great headspace — to come back and make his return.”
A lot of folks probably (and in some ways even sensibly) probably ruled out Hamlin ever returning to the gridiron before he even got off the field that fateful night. After all, it sounds almost unbelievable. Like something from a Hollywood movie.
But if there’s anything we’ve learned about the courageous Hamlin during this saga it’s that he doesn’t believe in words like unbelievable.
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