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Like other coaches and players around the NFL, Bill Belichick spoke to the media about Damar Hamlin during his media availability on Thursday. He sent nothing but support to the Buffalo Bill’s safety. Unlike most of his counterparts around the league, however, Belichick has first-hand experience with witnessing a nightmare scenario unfold in the middle of a game.
During the 1997 season, Belichick was a defensive assistant for the New York Jets. While there, he witnessed Detroit Lions’ linebacker Reggie Brown be left temporarily paralyzed after making a tackle. The injury ultimately ended Brown’s playing career.
Belichick said while watching the Hamlin situation unfold, it made him think about that unfortunate play from 25 years ago.
“When I saw the situation, it reminded me very much of one that I experienced when I was with the Jets in 1997. We played the Lions, I think it was the last game of the year and Reggie Brown was injured.”
“It was kind of a normal play,” Belichick recalled. “Everyone got up and walked back to the huddle, and Reggie [Brown] laid on the field and didn’t move. He was conscious for a little while. I forget exactly how long — 10 minutes, something like that.”
“The whole process took a long time. It must’ve taken a half hour by the time he was given CPR and revived and then put on the board and put on the ambulance and driven off the field at the Silverdome.”
“It was quite a lengthy process where the teams looked very much like the game Monday night of concern, thought and prayer and kneeling and so forth. It was a very chilling game, one that I’ll obviously never forget.”
Belichick, players on the field, and everyone in attendance that witnessed the Brown injury will likely never forget that moment. The same can be said when it comes to the Hamlin incident.
Thankfully, the updates regarding Hamlin over the past 48 hours have been nothing but positive. The Bills shared on Friday morning that the 24-year-old is alert, moving, and talking.