The Buffalo Bills honored safety Damar Hamlin — still in a Cincinnati hospital six days after suffering cardiac arrest following a scary on-field collision — both pregame and in-game during their Sunday afternoon matchup at home against the New England Patriots.
Before game time, the entire Bills roster — as well as players throughout the NFL — entered Highmark Stadium wearing shirts emblazoned with Hamlin’s #3 jersey number and the slogan “Love For Damar”; a “3” patch was also sewed onto the team’s jerseys.
The pregame festivities also included a celebration of “Damar’s recovery,” as well as a moment where the Bills medical and athletic training staff — who rushed on the field Monday and helped resuscitate Hamlin after he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest following the collision — were honored at midfield by the crowd:
Hamlin, who released his first public statement since the incident Saturday on Instagram, also posted a photo on Twitter Sunday of himself and family preparing to watch the Bills game in his hospital room:
What Hamlin witnessed was perhaps the biggest tribute of all, as the Bills’ Nyheim Hines returned the Patriots’ opening kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown.
“OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” Hamlin tweeted immediately after. As the Bills noted on Twitter soon after, it had been “3” years and “3” months since their last kick return touchdown.