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On Monday night, the NFL experienced one of the most terrifying moments in its history when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field. Medical personnel administered CPR and Hamlin is currently in a Cincinnati hospital in critical condition.
Across the sports world, people have weighed-in on the situation, with most sending their thoughts and prayers to Hamlin and his family.
The scene has, rightfully, affected NFL players and coaches in a way that no other injury has. To see one of their brethren fight for his life on an NFL field after suffering cardiac arrest has clearly shaken them.
Despite the scary situation, the NFL must continue forward. The final week of the NFL schedule begins on Saturday and teams are fighting to make the playoffs. That means they will have to attempt to prepare to play football, while one of their own continues to fight in a hospital bed. It’s quite a tall order.
NFL coaches hold press conferences on Tuesdays to, usually, discuss their upcoming game. But in light of the circumstances, many feel obligated to address the biggest story in the league, Hamlin’s off-the-field battle.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke about Hamlin at his press conference. His words took on extra importance because Hamlin is from the Pittsburgh area and attended the University of Pittsburgh. Steelers starting quarterback Kenny Pickett is one of his former Pitt teammates.
Tomlin has been the head coach in the city since 2007.
“Being a Pittsburgher … I’ve known that guy probably since he was about 12,” Tomlin said. “Just got a lot of respect and love for him as a human being…. It’s just an honor to get to know young people like that.
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Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel also opened his press conference talking about Damar Hamlin.
“On behalf of the Titans organization, our players and everybody involved, we want to send our deepest sympathies, and our concerns and our prayers to Damar who, by all accounts, is fighting his tail off in Cincinnati,” Vrabel said.
“To Damar’s football family in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, those teammates — we have one of those guys, Rashad Weaver was a teammate of his — just doing everything we can to support him. Sending out our thoughts to everyone involved.”
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As coaches and players take the podium this week, expect Hamlin to be the prevailing point of coversation.
Some thing are bigger than football, and this certainly qualifies.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ