On Monday night, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field, pausing all focus on football and putting everyone's concern toward his health. The scary scene left players visibly shaken and very emotional, with many shedding tears as they awaited news on Hamlin's status. With uncertainty at the time and given the weight of what all players, coaches and fans had just witnessed, the Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals was paused, postponed and eventually canceled.
Six days later and Hamlin is enjoying a remarkable recovery. He's breathing on his own and even posting updates on social media. Doctors say his neurological function is "excellent." The Bills and Hamlin's doctors have given updates throughout the week, and the relief that Hamlin's awake and progressing and doing well has been felt throughout the league.
On Sunday, the Bills are playing their first game since Hamlin left the game in an ambulance and it is understandingly an emotional scene at Buffalo's Highmark Stadium. Fans flooded in with signs showing love and support for Hamlin, and the players and coaches wore a No. 3 patch.
Quarterback Josh Allen came out of the tunnel holding a flag that had a No. 3 and read, "Pray for Damar." Other players held the same flag and held up three fingers. The "3" in the 30-yard marker on the field is outlined in blue. Before the game the announcer gave an update on Hamlin's health and asked everyone in the stadium to stand and show support for the safety.
The Bills are far from the only ones showing support for Hamlin, who is watching the Bills game against the New England Patriots from his hospital bed. Players, teams and fans from around the league are sending extra love to No. 3 as he continues to make strides in his recovery.
Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, who was on the other side of Hamlin's hit right before the safety fell to the ground, wore a No. 3 shirt.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is at the Bills game wearing a No. 3 hat.
David, founder of @BillsMafiaGer, traveled from Germany to Orchard Park to be at the game today to support Damar Hamlin.— alex brasky (@alexbrasky) January 8, 2023
“What he survived was the game of his life. Just awesome.”#Bills #BillsMafia #ForDamar @HamlinIsland @Batavia_Daily pic.twitter.com/5uN3LMI6H9
Tyler Boyd, who is close friends with Damar Hamlin, is wearing his jersey during warmups. The two had planned to swap jerseys Monday night after the game.— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) January 8, 2023
Cam Taylor-Britt also wearing a Hamlin jersey. Most everyone else on the team wearing 'Love For Damar' t-shirts. pic.twitter.com/JL6lQhnC7l
The Bills defeated the Patriots 35-23 on Sunday, securing the No. 2 seed and eliminating the Patriots from the playoffs. After the game, players noted that the win was for Damar.