Last night's Monday Night Football game was a heavy one for NFL fans everywhere as we watched the Buffalo Bills take on the Cincinnati Bengals. With only a couple of minutes left in the first quarter, the game came to an abrupt cancellation when Bills Safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and suffered cardiac arrest.
Quarterback Josh Allen was in utter shock, cupping his hands to his mouth. Cornerback Tre’Davious White wept into a teammate's arms as offensive tackle Spencer Brown knelt down. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs stared with disbelief and put both of his hands on top of his head. The entire Bills sideline flooded onto the field, their anxiety escalating along with their fear for what lay ahead - many began praying while others could only turn away in horror at the sight before them.
The game was postponed after both teams' captains and coaches decided nobody was in the right headspace to play after officials suspended the game until further notice.
Prayers went up nationwide and on this particular night, no matter what or who you're rooting for, we all were Bills fans at this very moment. The Bills released the following statement overnight (1:48 AM) on safety Hamlin's condition:
"Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition."
As a local to Pittsburgh, Hamlin spent 5 fruitful years in college at the city's famed university. During those 48 games for Panthers over his stay, he was voted team captain and gained recognition as an All-ACC second-team performer during his senior year and participated in the prestigious Senior Bowl.
In 2021, he was selected in the sixth round by the Bills. As a rookie, he played 14 games and subsequently became a starter when Micah Hyde sustained an injury that caused him to miss out on the season.
By Monday night, the donations for Hamlin's community toy drive had surpassed all expectations by reaching more than $3.5 million - a staggering amount compared to his intended goal of only $2,500.
WAJ Sports sends our prayers to the Bills and Hamlin's family. We will continue to provide updates regarding Hamlin's condition.