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As reality settled in that the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills were witnessing a nightmare unfold involving Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin on Monday night, both teams’ head coaches met on the sideline to have a difficult conversation.
Zac Taylor, head coach of the Bengals, reflected on his conversation with Sean McDermott while speaking with the media Wednesday for the first time since the incident.
“It was determined to just take a few moments just as teams to process what just happened, because no one had that chance,” Taylor explained.
“I look at Sean [McDermott] and the players, all they were doing was looking at their teammate, their brother, and hoping for the best. That’s the only thing going through their minds.”
“We separated as teams, the officials did a great job coming over to me saying ‘hey, they’re still trying to process this moment,'” Zac Taylor continued.
“Instead of playing telephone on separate sidelines, the decision was made to just go over there and make sure we’re all talking together. I won’t disclose any of the private conversations Sean and I had, except for this: when I got over there the first thing he said was ‘I need to be at the hospital with Damar and I shouldn’t be coaching this game.'”
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest after a hit on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. After standing up, the 24-year-old collapsed on the field. CPR was performed for over seven minutes on the field to restore his heartbeat.
Hamlin was then taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where efforts to save his life have continued through Wednesday.
The latest update on Hamlin’s status came directly from the Bills on Wednesday afternoon.
“Damar remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight,” the team shared via Twitter. “He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him.”
The NFL announced it would not resume the Bills-Bengals game “this week.” It also said there would be no changes to the Week 18 schedule, which features a 16-game slate on Saturday and Sunday.
Be sure to follow OutKick’s Armando Salguero for news and updates regarding Hamlin.