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Buffalo Bills S Damar Hamlin not expected to play vs. Cincinnati Bengals, per report

Head coach Sean McDermott said early in the week that decisions would be football-based in nature

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin isn’t expected to suit up and play (per a report by senior NFL insider Adam Schefter) during tonight’s primetime matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals for Sunday Night Football. This, of which it’s safe to say everyone will be forever thankful, has nothing to do with his health.

Damar Hamlin will be there cheering on his team, and is certain to be acknowledged by those in attendance for tonight’s matchup. Hamlin has only been active for one game in the 2023 season, a game in which he played exclusively on special teams.

Hamlin’s role is primarily as a reserve defender for the Bills. His being inactive means that Buffalo’s safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are healthy, and that Hamlin simply isn’t needed in a relief role. Despite likely not playing tonight, this isn’t the end of the road for Hamlin’s career. He has a bright future, constantly learning behind Hyde and Poyer, and his time on the field could come again on a moment’s notice, or in future seasons.

Last season when Hamlin suffered on-field cardiac arrest during the Bills’ Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati, he had played several weeks as a starter because of the season-ending neck injury Hyde suffered in Week 2. The plights of both Hamlin and Hyde illustrate the clear risk involved the game of football, and remind us to consider NFL players beyond their professional scope.

Despite Hamlin’s likely inactive status for Week 9, there’s been no shortage of emphasis paid to the initiatives he’s begun and those he’s helped foster in gaining greater awareness to the nationwide and international needs for proper life-saving care training and increased access to AED defibrillator devices. Out of the greatest struggle to beat the toughest of odds, Hamlin has found a calling to continue advocating for those most at risk to suffer commotio cordis — children and young adults.

With Hamlin in Cincinnati for tonight’s game, he had the opportunity to connect with 10 team members of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) who helped save his life. As Hamlin shared on social media, he was able to surprise those 10 people in attendance “with a scholarship named after each of them that will support youth in Cincy to chase their dreams.”

As Damar Hamlin so succinctly stated: “Wouldn’t be here if it wasn't’ for them!”

While it’s certain Hamlin never envisioned his career shaping out the way it has, he’s triumphed to find every positive possible. The world needs more people like Damar Hamlin. Bills fans shall remain ever thankful that UCMC’s incredible team in tandem with the Buffalo Bills’ equally impressive training staff — led in that moment by assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington — were able to rescue Hamlin from death’s doorstep.