EXCLUSIVE: Buffalo Bills HOF WR Andre Reed Reflects On Damar Hamlin Injury, Says Super Bowl Win Will Help Heal City

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Andre Reed has established himself as one of the most prolific voices when it comes to the Buffalo Bills — and nearly 24 hours after the horrendous tragedy involving safety Damar Hamlin — the Hall of Famer gave an exclusive interview to FOX News digital on Tuesday about the events that unfolded in front of the nation.

The Buffalo Bills’ legend played 16 seasons in the NFL, almost all of them with the franchise he has become synonymous with.

When asked if he had ever seen anything like what happened Monday, Reed responded candidly.

“Not at all,” he answered.

“Bottom line is I never did. I’ve seen guys get carted off with knee injuries and ankles and hamstrings, or whatever it is.”

“I kind of knew something was different when I saw guys crying,” Reed continued. “It’s kind of hard to get a grown man to cry, period. It’s even harder to get 45 to 90 men crying together, in a sport that’s not known for crying, except when you win or lose.”

The longtime physical wideout was even more surprised after viewing the hit that led to the tragedy.

“I got hit a lot harder than that, believe me,” Reed said of the moment Hamlin fell to the ground. “I thought maybe he had a neck injury, or a stinger, where you go limp and the head goes back.”

But when the ambulance actually made its way on to the field, Reed knew it was serious.

“But then the ambulance came on to the field and all the guys huddled around, Josh Allen had tears in his eyes and so did Stefon Diggs,” Reed said. “And there were guys on the Bengals who were clearly emotional too.”

CINCINNATI, OH – JANUARY 2: Isaiah McKenzie #6 of the Buffalo Bills reacts to an injury sustained by Damar Hamlin #3 during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on January 2, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

How Can the Buffalo Bills proceed?

Reed was asked if he’s heard anything about how the organization will proceed with an upcoming game slated for this weekend. While the game is clearly irrelevant, the prolific wideout echoed what we have heard so far.

“There was no way those teams could have played,” Reed said.

“We all just want to make sure he’s okay,” he added.

“I don’t think the players right now are in any mindset to think about the New England Patriots on Sunday, because there is a mental struggle. Mental awareness has become a focal point in sports and some of these guys might need time, someone to talk to. You know we are grown men, but sometimes we need some help”

Reed noted he hasn’t had the opportunity to talk to any current Bills players, while admitting he’s never had the opportunity to meet Hamlin.

The Hall of Famer then shared an incredible story.

“I talked to Jim Kelly and his wife and we did something on social media at 3 P.M. So today is January 3rd,” Reed explained. “Damar’s number is 3. So the Kelly’s put together an event at the stadium at 3’oclock. 3-3-3, that’s amazing.”

Andre Reed Says A Super Bowl Victory will help heal city

After a year of turmoil surrounding the Bills’ franchise, Reed reiterated what so many have said about this team — and the community in general.

“Buffalo is a strong community and it’s been a terrible year for Buffalo,” Reed said. “The shooting in the grocery store, two major storms that have killed people. And now this, but Buffalo is special. If you have a nickel to your name, and you’re walking down the street, somebody will help you, hands down.”

While it’s difficult for many to even place importance on the game right now, the Hall of Famer believes — in time — the team will bounce bag in the biggest way.

“The only thing this team needs is to go to the Super Bowl and win it,” Reed exclaimed. “You know how it is, but they go through things but there’s that line. But when they get past that line, they don’t think about the past.”

He added more context to his statement.

“You know how life is, things happen and people and teams bounce back. While the only focus is on Damar right now, hopefully the team will rally around this and accomplish something special.”

PASADENA, CA – CIRCA 1993:Andre Reed of the Buffalo Bills rushing against the Dallas Cowboys at Super Bowl 27 played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,California on January 31st 1993. (Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)

Is football too violent?

When posed the above question, Reed didn’t hold back with his response.

“It’s always going to be a violent sport,” he said.”A spade is a spade, so it’s always going to be that way. The NFL has tried to put a bubble on it and make safety precautions — I wish they would have done that when I was playing — and these guys know every day when they go in that building there’s a risk that they are taking.”

Reed shared a personal story from a call he received from his Mom since Monday night’s events occurred.

“My mom called me after this happened because she worried about me every single play,” the former Bills’ star shared. “But you don’t think of that as a player.”

Finally, the Bills’ legend shared behind-the-scenes insight into what he’s heard from the Buffalo staff.

“I know he [head coach Sean McDermott] had a meeting this morning, because I know the league hadn’t really put anything out yet. But he’s really in-tune with his players,” Reed added. “They have been through a lot. I’m sure Sean mentioned it’s traumatic and all resources are available for his players.”

Andre Reed currently ranks 15th in all-time NFL touchdown receptions with 87 and ninth in all-time NFL post-season receptions with 85. At the time of his 2001 retirement, Reed was second in all-time NFL career receptions. He was inducted into thPro Football Hall of Fame in 2014

Written by Sean Labar

Lifelong die-hard DC fan (all four teams). College football and the NFL are my biggest passions but I love writing & discussing all sports. Live in Virginia with my two rescue pups Wally & Reagan. Follow me on Twitter @SeanLabarPR

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