Monday, Feb. 26, 2024|
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Wearing shorts and his familiar No. 3 blue practice jersey, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin began easing his way back into football during the team’s voluntary minicamp on Tuesday, some five months after having a near-death experience on the field.
The only thing missing was his helmet. Though held back from taking part in team sessions, Hamlin participated in individual drills and the stretching portions to open and end practice in taking the next steps toward resuming his football career.
“We’re taking it one day at a time and just support Damar in every way possible,” coach Sean McDermott said. He otherwise did not provide any timetable as to when the player can resume practicing fully a little over a month after Hamlin was cleared to play. The 25-year-old Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field after making what appeared to be a routine tackle during the first quarter of a game at Cincinnati, and being broadcast to a national prime-time audience on Jan. 2.
Defensive backs coach John Butler shed further light on the team’s approach to Hamlin’s practice routine by saying it’s based on constant communication between the player and the medical staff.
“This is Damar’s process,” Butler said. “All we can do is listen, communicate with him and try to get on the same level as him.”
The Bills’ slow approach to Hamlin’s participation appears in line with how they’ve eased back other players coming off major injuries. And it’s understandable given how much time he missed during a lengthy recuperation process that limited him from much physical exertion before reporting for the team’s voluntary workout program last month.
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