‘MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL’ postponed…

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, 24, remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s intensive care unit after suffering a cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bills announced Tuesday afternoon.

With just over six minutes remaining in the first quarter Monday night, Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins after a 13-yard catch. Hamlin got to his feet, then collapsed backward. Hamlin received CPR while on the field. According to the Bills, his heartbeat was restored on the field before he was transported in an ambulance to the UCMC for further testing and treatment.

The Hamlin family released a statement shortly before noon ET on Tuesday expressing its appreciation for the widespread support:

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country.

“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach (Zac) Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.

“Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them.”

Hamlin was attended to immediately by medical staff, with players from both teams surrounding him, many of them visibly emotional. After Hamlin was taken to the hospital, officials spoke with coaches from both teams. The decision was then made to suspend play, with players and coaches exiting the field to the locker room, before the game was ultimately postponed.

“Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills,” the NFL said in a statement on Monday. “We will provide more information as it becomes available. The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association which is in agreement with postponing the game.”

The NFLPA said it had been in touch with both teams and the league, and is focused on Hamlin’s “health and well-being.”

“The Bengals continue to send thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin and his family,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “Our hearts are with everyone in this unprecedented time — what we can do is support one another.”

The statement continued: “As medical personnel undertook extraordinary measures, both teams demonstrated respect and compassion while fans in the stadium and people around the country bolstered the support for Damar and love for each other. The Bengals are thankful for the love and compassion shown by all. Praying for Damar.”

On a conference call with the media a couple of hours after the game’s postponement, NFL executive vice president of personnel Troy Vincent said there was never any conversation about a five-minute warmup period to resume play, as was referenced during the ESPN broadcast.

“It never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play,” Vincent said. “That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive.”

Bills players were scheduled to travel back to Buffalo from Cincinnati on Monday night, with a handful of members from the organization staying back to support Hamlin, Vincent said. Members of the Bengals organization, including head coach Zac Taylor, also went to the hospital to check on Hamlin, NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported.

The league announced Tuesday afternoon that the Bengals-Bills game would not be resumed this week and no decision has been made as to whether the game will be played at a later date.

Since his hospitalization, there has been an outpouring of support to a community-fundraising initiative Hamlin previously established.

Hamlin was a sixth-round pick of the Bills in the 2021 NFL Draft. He made his first career start in Week 3 of this season after Buffalo safety Micah Hyde sustained a season-ending injury. Hamlin has remained in the starting lineup ever since.

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