‘The love has been overwhelming’: Bills’ Damar Hamlin releases statement

CINCINNATI — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle in Monday night’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, posted for the first time on his social media accounts, thanking fans and players for their support.

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“When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much,” the 24-year-old player wrote Saturday on Instagram. “The love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this.

“If you know me, you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road -- keep praying for me!”

Hamlin also posted a tweet with a similar sentiment.

Hamlin, playing in his second season with the Bills, tackled Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins with 5:58 left in the first quarter of a key game between two of the AFC’s best teams, The Buffalo News reported. Hamlin stood up but immediately collapsed to the turf. The Bills said that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest; the player was resuscitated on the field and later at the hospital, according to the player’s uncle.

According to a statement from physicians at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Hamlin remains breathing on his own and his “neurological function is excellent,” ESPN reported.

The Bills provided an update earlier Saturday, WRGZ-TV reported.

“Per the physicians at UC Medical Center, Damar is making continued progress in his recovery yet remains in critical condition. He continues to breathe on his own and his neurological function is excellent,” the Bills tweeted.

The Bills are planning to pay tribute to Hamlin, the first-responders and medical staff who treated him when the team closes the regular season in Buffalo against the New England Patriots, WGRZ reported. the player when they close the season Sunday by hosting the New England Patriots.

Around the NFL, teams will observe a pregame moment of support this weekend and will paint Hamlin’s No. 3 on the 30-yard line, according to The Associated Press. Players also will wear pregame shirts with the slogan “Love for Damar 3.” The Bills will also wear “3″ jersey patches, WGRZ reported.

Hamlin spoke with his teammates during a Zoom call on Friday during the Bills’ team meeting, according to ESPN. He told his teammates, “Love ya boys,” made a heart with his hands and gave them a thumbs-up, the sports news outlet reported. Hamlin even flexed, a gesture that made his teammates clap and yell excitedly.

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