Bengals-Bills Game Will Not Resume Following Damar Hamlin Hospitalization

Buffalo Bills players react after teammate Damar Hamlin #3 was injured against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paycor Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio
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The NFL has no plans to resume the postponed Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills game later this week. The Monday Night Football game was halted in the first quarter on January 2 after Bills player Damar Hamlin was struck in the chest and suffered an immediate cardiac arrest. The 24-year-old is still hospitalized as of the time of publication. The NFL released a statement on Tuesday, January 3, saying there is currently no plan to resume the game later this week.

“The NFL continues to be in regular contact with the medical team caring for Damar Hamlin, and also the Bills and Bengals organizations and the NFL Players Association,” the statement reads. “After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs 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 league has not made any changes to the Week 18 regular season schedule. We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Hamlin collapsed after being struck by wide receiver Tee Higgins during the game on Monday night. He began to seize and eventually, his heart stopped. Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field (time is of the utmost importance in cases of cardiac arrest) and was given CPR for around 8 minutes. His heartbeat was restored, and after around 30 total minutes of medical care on the field, Hamlin was taken off in an ambulance and sent to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for additional testing and care. The Bills’ Twitter account announced at 1:48 a.m. ET on January 3 that Hamlin had been sedated and was listed in critical condition.

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills

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At the time of the game’s pausing, the score was 7-3 with the Bengals in the lead. There was around six minutes remaining in the first quarter. According to ESPN announcer Joe Buck (who was commentating during the game), they were told the teams would have five minutes to regroup and warm up after Hamlin left the field. But after Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Bills coach Sean McDermott conferred, the teams refused to continue the game out of respect for Hamlin. The match was subsequently suspended.

Buck reiterated the five-minutes call throughout the scary delay. The commentator told The New York Post on Tuesday that his information came from ESPN’s rules expert John Parry, who he said was in direct communication with the NFL throughout the ordeal.

NFL Executive Vice President of football operations Troy Vincent denied Buck’s comments in a Tuesday morning conference call with media.

“I’m not sure where that came from. Five-minute warmup never crossed my mind, personally,” he said, per Pro Football Talk. “And I was the one… that was communicating with the Commissioner. We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. And that’s not a place that we should ever be in.”

ESPN issued a statement defending Buck and Parry, according to Pro Football Talk. It read: “There was constant communication in real time between ESPN and league and game officials. As a result of that, we reported what we were told in the moment and immediately updated fans as new information was learned. This was an unprecedented, rapidly-evolving circumstance. All night long, we refrained from speculation.”

Hamlin’s family issued a public statement Tuesday morning thanking concerned viewers for their support and donations to the Go Fund Me charity toy drive Hamlin previously established. Over $6 million has been donated to the fund, which had an initial goal of $2,500.

“We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” the family writes. “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.”