Recently, Ari Meirov, who covers the NFL for The 33rd Team, sat down with Buffalo Bills’ secondary duo Dane Jackson and Damar Hamlin to discuss a number of NFL topics. First up, he asked the two about their similar backgrounds.
“Both of you have a really cool story,” Meirov stated. “Both of you are from the same side of Pittsburgh. You both went to the same college. Got drafted to the same NFL team — that just doesn’t happen often. Now that the season is over, what would you put in towards what the season was like as a team, but also just as close friends?”
“It was a journey, for sure,” Dane responded first. “It was a journey as a team. We had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of trials and tribulations that we had to overcome throughout the season but we stuck together and we fought our hardest fight.”
On being friends, Jackson told Meirov that it was another journey but they both stayed the course, trusted each other and trusted in God. He also stated that they were always there to talk to each other as true “wingmen” and continued to rely on each other and pick each other up.
Hamlin added to that sentiment by saying, “It’s been an amazing journey, man. To see where we started and to see how we keep progressing, it’s something of high caliber and it’s something that I respect.” He also noted that he and Jackson both keep overcoming the odds and beating obstacles in their way.
On head coach Sean McDermott, Meirov talked a bit about the part of the season where all hope seemed lost and then asked, “As guys who play for him, how would you describe Sean and why he is the right guy for Buffalo?”
“Just the attitude and the mindset that he brings. He’s a true leader and I got to see it, you know, I knew it all along but I got to directly see it this season just going through our rough patch and how we were able to turn it around,” Hamlin answered. “It was truly just a buy-in from everyone to his plan and we executed to the best of our ability for as long as we could.”
Hamlin also gave McDermott some praise by saying, “I appreciate him and I give him the utmost respect and the utmost credit because to be able to lead and lead a group of grown men — super-successful men — it’s hard to get that caliber of men to buy into one thing and one plan and you know, taking it all the way down to something simple, just as far as you know, standing in front of that room, in front of this group of men is a tough task.” He added that McDermott doing that every day grows his respect for the coach and that Sean also gives that same respect to everyone else. He ended by calling him a “true leader.”
The next question was for Dane Jackson. Meirov wanted to know why Jackson believes that Damar Hamlin should be awarded with the NFL’s “Comeback Player of the Year” on February 8. His response was heartfelt and beautiful.
“Like I said before and I’ll keep saying it again,” Jackson began. “I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving — not taking anything away from any other candidates at all — but for me personally, I don’t think there’s no one more deserving than my brother. I’ve been there through the journey, I’ve seen the journey, I’ve seen everything he’s been though, I’ve seen everything he’s overcome. He never complained, even when the times got rough. He always just looked at me and was like, “Bro, this is what I love to do. This is what I want to do.” So I got nothing but respect for this guy, for my brother, and I think no one’s more deserving for it.”
Meirov also asked them what they’re doing with the brand Bounty. “We partner with Bounty on a “Wingman” series. Great opportunity for us to showcase who we are as people and represent Bounty as well. They’ve been a big part of my life, my journey,” said Jackson. He thanked them for giving him and Damar a platform to show off their personalities.
“Just to be able to be ourselves in front of the entire world. Everyone that reacted to our video loves it. Just getting to see our relationship day-to-day in front of the entire world. It’s been such a positive reaction because we’re such genuine people,” added Hamlin. “We only try to put good into the world.”
Check out the full video below:
#Bills S Damar Hamlin and CB Dane Jackson sit down with @The33rdTeamFB to discuss the challenges they faced this past season, why they believe Sean McDermott is the right coach for Buffalo, and Jackson explains why Hamlin should be Comeback Player of the Year. pic.twitter.com/QIlCUVLQgU— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 1, 2024