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Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin returned to full pads on Monday. Just under seven months after collapsing during a Monday Night Football game, Hamlin put the full gear on for the first time. He joined his teammates on the field during training camp, experiencing a clearly emotional moment.
As OutKick’s Armando Salguero reported last week, the Bills expect Hamlin to be “full-go” during training camp and the preseason.
Monday represented yet another significant step for the 25-year-old Pittsburgh native.
And the fans showed up and showed out to support Hamlin’s miraculous recovery.
After his first full-pad practice, Damar Hamlin spoke to the media gathered at Buffalo Bills training camp
Hamlin talked after practice and made some very interesting comments. He talked about going through his recovery in such a public way and that he does get a “little scared” being back on the field.
“I honestly [would have loved] to do this whole process under a rock, get myself together, and pop back out when I feel at my best,” Hamlin said. “But I think there’s strength in going through a process in front of everybody’s eyes. It shows vulnerability, strength and perseverance. And those are things I would love to stand for.”
I can’t imagine returning to a football field after nearly dying on one, and Hamlin admitted that it’s not easy. But he finds comfort in his beliefs.
“I’m not afraid to say it crosses my mind of being a little scared here and there but my strength is rooted in my faith and my faith is stronger than any fear,” Hamlin said.
“As long as your faith is stronger than your fear, you can get through anything. That’s what I’m living by right now.”
A truly inspiring message from a truly inspiring professional athlete.
We all look forward and hope to see Damar Hamlin on the field when the Buffalo Bills take the field at MetLife Stadium against Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets on Sept. 11.
Yes, that’s a Monday Night Football game.
Damar Hamlin might get the biggest cheer for an opposing player that Jets fans have ever delivered.
And it will have been earned.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak