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NEW ORLEANS – The Buffalo Bills Mafia of fans does not forget.
And New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton remembers.
Dalton was one of the first NFL players to donate to the GoFundMe for Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who needed CPR after a tackle in a game at Cincinnati Monday night.
Hamlin, a 24-year-old second-year player, remains hospitalized, but he has made significant improvement.
Dalton donated 3,000. Hamlin’s GoFundMe has reached more than $7 million.
“This has been something that I have personally been affected by, especially with it happening to a Bills player,” Dalton told reporters at the Saints’ facilities. “The Bills fan base and just a lot of people that support at Buffalo have donated to my foundation through a win.”
Andy Dalton TD Pass At Baltimore Put Bills In Playoffs In 2017
On Dec. 31, 2017, Dalton completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left at Baltimore for a 31-27 win that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs at 9-7. Buffalo won 22-16 at Miami that day to finish 9-7. But the Bills needed the Bengals to win to reach the playoffs for the first time since losing the Music City Miracle at Tennessee in 1999. Cincinnati finished 7-9, but the Bills were so thankful.
Buffalo lost its wild-card playoff a week later, 10-3, at Jacksonville, but Bills fans still showed their appreciation for Dalton by donating $415,000 to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation.
“Now, this is something completely different,” Dalton said. “This is a tragedy. One way to show our support is we wanted to give back in the way that we can. That’s just a small thing that we can do. The donation is small, but our family has been praying that he’s going to push through. To see this fund get into the millions and contine to grow is something that shows that there’s so many people who want to support and love Damar and his family.”
Andy Dalton Witnessed Injury To Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier
Also in 2017 as the Bengals’ quarterback, Dalton witnessed Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier making a head first tackle against Cincinnati, which resulted in him becoming a paraplegic.
“That was the first thing I thought of,” Dalton said of seeing Hamlin’s injury. “When you see a life and death situation in this game it makes you take a step back and think about it. Obviously, it’s a freak accident that nobody expects is going to happen. But one thing it’s done is everybody sees the humanity of the players and the unfortunate possibility of what can happen by playing this game.”
New Orleans Saints tight end Lucas Krull and Hamlin were teammates at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I was sick to my stomach with tears filling my eyes,” Krull told reporters on Wednesday. “You can’t fall asleep because all you’re thinking about is, ‘Is he OK?’ I know he’s going to fight like hell.”