The Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday was suspended in the first quarter after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed with 5:58 left in the first quarter. The NFL said Hamlin was in critical condition.
Pittsburgh sophomore Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins after a 13-yard gain. Hamlin stood up but collapsed to the ground.
An ambulance was brought to the scene and ESPN reporter Lisa Salters said medical responders were “working on him” for more than nine minutes. According to play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, Hamlin underwent CPR and was placed on a stretcher. Before going to the ambulance, he was given oxygen.
He was being transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to youhe Cincinnati Enquirer. ESPN also reported that his mother joined him in the ambulance.
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The NFL Players Association has accepted the decision to postpone the game.
“The NFLPA and all members of our community are praying for Damar Hamlin,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We’ve been in contact with players from the Bills and Bengals, as well as the NFL. The only thing that matters right now is Damar’s health and well-being.”
The faces of players from both teams told the story. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was visibly shaken and players from both teams surrounded the ambulance.
Some players were on their knees, while others were openly crying.
After Bills head coach Sean McDermott met with Bengals counterpart Zac Taylor, both teams walked off the field and referee Shawn Smith announced the game had been temporarily suspended.
Cameras showed the two coaches meeting once more in the stadium tunnel (and swapping cellphones) and the players began to exit the Bills locker room. Bengals Captains Joe Burrow, DJ Reader, Ted Karras and Joe Mixon also made their way to the locker room. Prior to the league’s official announcement, the Bills’ equipment staff began packing the sideline. Finally, at 10:00 p.m. ET — an hour and five minutes after Hamlin’s collapse — the game was called off.
There was no information about the continuation of the game.
The league hoped to provide an update on the player by the end of the night, according to ESPN.
Scoring and Playoff Consequences
Cincinnati came in at 11-4 and led AFC North by one game against Baltimore, while champion AFC East Buffalo was 12-3.
A local star
Hamlin, 24, was a local star who attended the University of Pittsburgh from 2016 to 2020. He led the Panthers in tackles and passes defended his senior season and was named a second-team All-ACC. The Bills selected him in the sixth round of the 2021 draft, and he appeared in 14 games during his rookie season.
Hamlin has played a much larger role in the 2022 season and has started all but Buffalo’s first two games this season.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.