For the first time since Monday night, the Buffalo Bills hosted a media conference, and head coach Sean McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen met with media to discuss the situation surrounding the injury to Damar Hamlin.
To begin, McDermott thanked all those who were involved with saving Hamlin’s life including medical staff of both teams, first responders, and doctors and staff at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He then went on to thank those who have supplied support to the team since Monday night.
“We’ve all been affected by this situation,” McDermott said that the support for players, coaches, and staff has been unbelievable. “The amount of faith, hope, and love that we saw on display over the past three days has been nothing short of amazing.”
Josh Allen, who was visibly overcome with emotion during the session, had nothing but praise for his coach.
“He was the perfect man to handle the situation,” Allen said of McDermott. “You lose sleep. You hurt for your brother. But getting updates — positive updates — eases some of that. But coach handled it as perfect as anybody could.”
Allen went on to say that the scene that the team witnessed as medical staff fought to save Hamlin’s life in front of them was overpowering.
“I don’t like using emotions to answer questions, but the scene plays over and over in your head,” he said. “It’s hard to describe how I felt — how my teammates felt — in that moment. It’s something you’ll never forget.”
McDermott said that the mental health of every person involved has been a priority and praised Bills owner Terry Pegula for his focus on mental health.
“Mental health is real — as a coach and leaders of organization — the job description isn’t just X’s and O’s. It’s much more than that,” McDermott said that additional counselors were added to the team’s usual staff for those players or staff members who were seeking help working through what they experienced. “The health of your staff and your players is the number-one job, and that includes mental health.”
Allen said that after the team received the news that Hamlin was awake and responding changed the course of their day and lifted a huge weight from their shoulders.
“Putting that helmet back on today was a really good thing for our team,” he said about getting back to a full practice but admitted that there will always be the memory of what the team has been through. “Some people are going to be changed forever.”
The quarterback said that he is eager to see his teammate.
“I don’t know if we will get to see him any time soon, but it’s going to be great to get to see him,” he said. “To be able to tell him we love him. Whether it’s next week or the week after or whatever the case may be.”
Allen also said that Hamlin’s father, Mario Hamlin, told them that they needed to go out and charge forward for his son, and that is what the team will do on Sunday as they face the New England Patriots. He added that knowing that Hamlin is improving will make that easier.
“We are going to go out there and play for 3,” Allen said. “It will be a huge driving force.”
As the conference ended, Allen paused and said that he hoped that Tee Higgins, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver involved in the collision with Hamlin right before he experienced his cardiac arrest, got some relief with today’s news. He also said that people shouldn’t be attacking Higgins as there is nothing else he could have done in that situation.