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Cincinnati — Even as doctors tried to stabilize Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on Tuesday — a process that medical sources tell OutKick can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours if successful — the NFL as a whole was processing the chilling cardiac event that played out on national television.
“It’s day by day, man,” Dorrian Glenn, Hamlin’s uncle said when he came out of the UC Medical Center Tuesday evening. “He’s still on a ventilator. He’s still in ICU and they’re still administering care on the spot 24/7.
“Once he gets out of ICU, we’ll all feel better.”
Glenn said the family has remained “strong” and “hopeful” Hamlin will eventually be breathing on his own.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 teams reminding them they can access mental health resources for anyone needing help following Hamlin’s episode during the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Sends Memo
“Earlier today, the Head of Player Engagement and Team Clinician for each club received
information from Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti about mental health and support resources that are
available to your players and staff,” the memo read.
“Additional resources including on-site services can be available for any club that wishes this assistance. If your club would like to make use of these additional resources, please have your Player Engagement lead or Team Clinician contact Dr. NiiLampti.”
Tuesday is typically a player off day for a majority of teams. But some clubs play Saturday so Tuesday was a work day.
And those clubs had to address the Hamlin episode behind closed doors. The Tennessee Titans were such a team.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel is about as tough a guy as there is in the NFL. He was an edge rusher as a player years ago and demands his team to be one of the most physical and aggressive in the league.
But even this strong coach admitted it was “a difficult day for the players, the coaches, the NFL, our fans, and anybody that even knows the NFL.”
Damar Hamlin Has Everyone’s Attention
The Titans play in what is essentially a division title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night. The winner of the game in Jacksonville wins the AFC South.
Against that significant backdrop, Vrabel said the Titans needed to discuss what they saw on television Monday night. They needed to process it.
“We shared some great conversations,” he said. “We had an opportunity to discuss how everybody is feeling. Guys understand the severity of this. They understand the game and what we love. Sometimes things that you love the most and that can give you the most can also take the most away.
“There are some really cool comments that our players shared with each other, with me, and with everybody else. They are doing their best to support former teammates who are in Buffalo, but also understand that we have a great opportunity to continue to do what we love to do.
“One of our leaders said, and this is someone that knows Damar, that they are grateful. They are reminded they are grateful that they get to do this. I thought that was really special to hear some of those guys talk.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers also have a big game with playoff implications Sunday. That didn’t prevent coach Mike Tomlin from interrupting his usual assessment of his opponent to discuss Hamlin, who is from Pittsburgh.
Mike Tomlin Reaches Out To Bills
“Man, it’s a really personal thing for me, being a Pittsburgher and that young man being a Pittsburgher,” Tomlin said. “I’ve known that guy probably since he was about 12. I’ve just got a lot of respect and love for him as a human being…
“I’ve had an opportunity to express that to him whenever I see him. We’ve played Buffalo each of the last two seasons and he and I get to have a moment, because it’s just cool to not only appreciate these guys in terms of where they are now, but to know them since they were younger people and to watch their maturation, their development, to watch them earn what they’ve been chasing.”
Tomlin texted Bills coach Sean McDermott to offer assistance with whatever was needed.
“I’ve got a lot of love for that young man,” Tomlin said. “We’re lifting him and that organization up in prayer.”
It’s not just players and coaches that needed to work out their feelings about this life threatening episode.
Fans Show Up, Pray For Damar Hamlin
NFL fans returned to the UC Medical Center Tuesday throughout the day. They gathered to pay respects for Hamlin and be around like-minded people. They built a shrine of sorts for Hamlin on the corner of Bellevue and Piedmont Avenues. It included a Bills flag.
Hamlin family members, including his aunts, stopped by the memorial Tuesday evening to take it in.
They held not one, but two memorials where people held candles, stood silent for a bit, and also prayed. One fan sang.
A few minutes away, the Crossroads Church Uptown held a service for Hamlin. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson opened the service via video.
“He’s not just a football player,” McPherson said of Hamlin. “He’s a son, he’s a teammate, he’s a brother in Christ.”
The congregation sang and prayed that “a miracle be seen in our midst” over Hamlin’s recovery.
“Prayer is powerful,” senior pastor Brian Tome said. “We have faith it will change things. And we believe these people here today are comforted by the fact they’re doing something about this situation.”