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Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Rodney Thomas learned the news about the Damar Hamlin situation via a FaceTime call from his dad on Monday night. He sat on FaceTime with his parents as the real-life nightmare involving his former high school teammate and very close friend unfolded.
Then, he made a decision, the decision to get in his car and drive the over 100 miles from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to be with his friend.
“I had a goal,” Thomas told the media inside the Colts’ locker room on Wednesday. “I knew where I was going, so I just got on the road and I just went. Laser-focused.”
Thomas, who talked with Hamlin prior to the Bills’ Monday night game in Cincinnati, arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to find his friend sedated and intubated in the Intensive Care Unit.
He sat next to Hamlin, held his hand, and talked to his friend.
“I know he could hear me,” Thomas said. “Even if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.”
While seeing someone in the ICU can make you more worrisome, seeing Hamlin had the opposite effect on Thomas. He explained that it put him more at ease.
“It calmed me way down,” Thomas said. “It made the trip home a lot easier. I could go home and know he’s gonna be straight, I got him, we all got him, everybody’s behind him. You see what’s going on, everybody’s behind him.
Thomas believes he’ll see Hamlin walking out of that hospital under his own power.
“And when he walks out of there and he sees the support he has, it’s going to be a real special day.”
“No doubt in my mind,” Thomas said. “He’s a fighter. No other thought in my mind of him walking out under his own power.”
The latest update on Hamlin’s status came on Wednesday afternoon via the Bills as the team explained that he remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted Wednesday and overnight.