Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin has certainly been on a magical mystery ride as he takes his Second Chance Tour into the 2023 NFL pre-season. Buffalo’s comeback kid seems to be rebounding nicely after one of the biggest scares in the history of live sports. Hamlin was carted off the field during a week 17 broadcast of Monday Night Football as cameras captured it all.
The 25-year-old player received a hero’s return from the Bills’ fans, who were waiting to provide him the ovation he certainly earned. After a hit on The Bengals’ Tee Higgins on January 10, Damar Hamlin suddenly stopped and then appeared to faint onto the turf. He was administered CPR on the field, before being rushed to a Cincinnati hospital.
The entire game was paused, and then subsequently canceled by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, despite some reports that the two teams were initially going to resume play – either later that night or at a future date. After an hour and no real signs that Hamlin was going to regain consciousness immediately, the League took action.
Since then, Hamlin’s story swept the nation, and fans who may not have even known the player’s name previously had a vested interest in him. Especially the folks in upstate New York, who have always been known to root for the guy who gets knocked down, only to get back up. And in Damar Hamlin’s case? It was almost the ultimate knockout.
Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin enters the first day of training camp earlier today at St. John Fisher University in Pittsford, NY. pic.twitter.com/ucWxLrDeXm
— Denn Dunham (@DennD68) July 27, 2023
Since gaining his somewhat bittersweet, celebrity status, Hamlin has been a special guest at the Super Bowl and made an appearance on the hit NBC show, The Masked Singer. However, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was whether or not he could effectively make a significant appearance on the football field again.
For now, it appears those questions have been answered. Damar Hamlin looked healthy and happy as he opened camp with the Bills. And the team and its medical staff say he’s “good to go” to kick off 2023.
“With Damar’s situation, like I mentioned in the spring, he has our full support, and always will, and then we’ll continue to take it one day at a time, and we’ll go at his cadence,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott commented on Wednesday. “At this point, he’s full-go and we’ll take it one day at a time, so I think that’s the best approach.”
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) July 26, 2023
Damar Hamlin was drafted by the Bills in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. The 6’0″, 200-pound safety recorded 91 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and forced one fumble in 15 regular season games in 2022
Buffalo is coming off a season where they finished 13-3 and dominated the AFC East, finishing far ahead of Miami at just 9-8. However, they will be dealing with a retooled New York Jets squad that’s expected to be a playoff contender with new QB Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
Hamlin and the Bills will take on those same J-E-T-S in a week 1 showdown on Sept 11, to kick off the start of the 2023 season.