The NFL on Tuesday confirmed that the game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals will not take place this week after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and was taken to a nearby hospital on Monday night.
In a statement, the NFL said that “after speaking with both teams and [NFL Players Association] leadership,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams “today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week.”
“The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date,” the statement said. “The league has not made any changes to the Week 18 regular season schedule. We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.”
It comes as Hamlin’s family released a statement Tuesday.
“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,” Hamlin’s family said in a statement.
“We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done,” the family wrote. “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.”
Early on Tuesday, hours after the Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals was canceled to be rescheduled, Buffalo released a statement saying Hamlin is in critical condition. He suffered cardiac arrest, the team said, adding that his heartbeat was restored.
“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,” the team wrote.
During the incident, Hamlin was attempting to tackle Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter. After the play ended, medical personnel rushed to the scene before trying to perform CPR on him. After about 10 minutes, he was taken on a stretcher out of the stadium before an ambulance rushed him to UC Medical Center in Cincinnati.
A friend and representative of Hamlin, Jordon Rooney, wrote that the Bills player’s “vitals are back to normal and they have put him to sleep to put a breathing tube down his throat,” while medical officials “are currently running tests.”
Hamlin was selected as the No. 212 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after a college career at the University of Pittsburgh, playing 14 games in his first NFL season. For the 2022–23 season, Hamlin played all 16 games until the injury.
“Monday Night Football’s” ESPN broadcast claimed that two teams were provided a five-minute warm-up period before attempts were made to resume the game. However, the NFL denied there were attempts to restart play.
“Never crossed my mind to talk about warming up to resume play,” NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent told reporters during a conference call, the New York Post reported. “That’s ridiculous, insensitive, and not a place we should ever be in.”
It was unclear when the game between two AFC contenders with the No. 1 seed hanging in the balance would be concluded. The NFL said in a conference call that the Bills would be returning to Buffalo and a decision on the game would come later.
The Bills are scheduled to close out the regular season on Sunday when they host the New England Patriots while the Bengals take on the Baltimore Ravens.
“That’s not our consideration right now, our concern is for the player and his wellbeing,” Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, told reporters. “I am sure at the appropriate time we will have a conversation around the next steps regarding the game.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
Source: The Epoch Times