Bill Belichick Said Damar Hamlin Injury Triggered Memories of a Similar Incident Where He Had an Up-Close View
Prepping for Sunday’s key matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Belichick spoke about Monday night’s incident involving Bill safety Damar Hamlin. Hamlin collapsed on the field and needed CPR after suffering cardiac arrest. Belichick said he watched the game live, and it brought back memories of a similar incident when he was the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator of the New York Jets.
Bill Belichick said the Damar Hamlin play reminded him of a 1997 incident when he was coaching the Jets
Belichick began his press conference Thursday by speaking about Hamlin, who tried to make a play on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter Monday. Hamlin hit Higgins and then collapsed to the turf, causing moments of panic.
An ambulance came onto the field, trainers rushed to aid Hamlin, and Denny Kellington, a Bills assistant trainer, performed CPR. The game was halted and eventually canceled. Hamlin went to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition.
The incident struck a nerve with Belichick, who was on the field for a similar event in ’97.
“Not that I have all the answers, because I certainly don’t, but I was there and experienced that, and I think have some sense of what the players and teams, coaches, went through Monday night,” Belichick said. “Like I said, it’s something that you just never forget.”
Belichick was an assistant under Bill Parcells with the Jets when his team played the Detroit Lions. Lions linebacker Reggie Brown suffered a serious spinal cord injury that ended his career when he went in to tackle Jets running back Adrian Murrell.
Both Brown’s and Hamlin’s injuries happened on routine plays. When Belichick saw Hamlin go down, he thought back to Brown’s injury nearly 26 years ago.
“Life’s bigger than this game,” Belichick said. “(Monday) is one of these humbling moments for all of us that stands out.”
Belichick and the Patriots face the Bills in a crucial game Sunday
After Hamlin’s injury on Monday, football was no longer the priority. Making sure Hamlin was OK was the primary focus.
As the week went on, the news got better and better regarding Hamlin’s health.
Hamlin’s breathing tube has been removed, and doctors have said he is “neurologically intact.” He is talking and recently FaceTimed his teammates. Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said the positive news is just what the team needed. While Hamlin’s health is still the priority, the good news allows both teams to move forward with football.
For Belichick and the Patriots, the easiest road to making the playoffs is winning in Buffalo on Sunday. That’s no easy task. Not only has Buffalo owned them in their last several meetings, but a hyped-up Bills crowd is expected, especially after the recent good news on Hamlin.
If the Patriots can find a way to win, they’re in the postseason. Should the Bills win, the Patriots would need wins from the Jacksonville Jaguars (home against the Tennessee Titans) on Saturday, the New York Jets (at the Miami Dolphins) on Sunday, and the Cleveland Browns (at the Pittsburgh Steelers) on Sunday.