Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.15.2023

Fans hoped Damar Hamlin would somewhat mark his return to the field when the Buffalo Bills went head-to-head in their playoff matchup against the Miami Dolphins today (Jan. 15).

While no one expected Hamlin to play in the game, more than a few people were certain he would lead his team out of the tunnel as they hit the field at Highmark Stadium. Instead, he was home cheering on the Super Bowl hopefuls. “My heart is with my guys as they compete today! Supporting from home as I focus on my recovery. Nothing I want more than to be out there with them! LFG,” he tweeted.

The 24-year-old is nearing the two-week mark of his recovery after suffering from cardiac arrest during a game on Jan. 2. For nine minutes, stunned spectators and pro football players watched in horror as medical personnel resuscitated the athlete. He spent several days being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center intubated. However, just five days after being hospitalized, his breathing tube was removed and he was able to communicate with medical staff, and his team. He was released from UCMC this past Wednesday (Jan. 11) and transferred to Buffalo General Medical. He remained under their care for two days before before being released again. He is still undergoing testing and, thus far, has not been cleared to return to the sport.

The NFL rookie has been flooded with support. In his first public message, he wrote, “When you put real love out into the world, it comes back to you [three times] as much.” The social post continued, “I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We [brought] the world back together behind this. If you know me, you know this only [gon’] make me stronger. On a long road, keep praying for me!”

But the medical scare did not stop him from reuniting with his teammates in person on Saturday (Jan. 14). Bills linebacker Matt Milano shared a snap of Hamlin at the team’s facility. He appeared jovial as he donned a gray hoodie and smiled while greeting his peers. NFL Network reporter Mike Giardi called the reunion “unbelievable.”

Last Sunday (Jan. 8), Hamlin tweeted a video of his team exiting the tunnel. He wrote, “Game day. Nothing I want more than to be running out that tunnel with my brothers. God using me in a different way today. Tell someone you love them today!”

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