Hamlin thankful, speaks publicly for 1st time in video
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Damar Hamlin released a video Saturday in which he says he’s thankful for the outpouring of support and vows to pay it back, marking the first time the Buffalo Bills safety has spoken publicly since he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati on Jan. 2.
Noting he continues to make “much progress” in his recovery, Hamlin said now was “the right time” to speak since the Bills’ season ended and because he needed time to recover and gather his thoughts.
“It was just a lot to process within my own self — mentally, physically, even spiritually. It’s just been a lot to process,” he said. “But I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support and everything that’s just been coming in my way.”
Hamlin then said he has come to peace with what happened on the field when he collapsed after making what appeared to be a routine tackle of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, who struck Hamlin squarely in the chest.
“What happened to me on ‘Monday Night Football,’ I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world,” he said.
“And now I’m able to give to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most. And that’s always been my dream,” he added. “That’s always been what I stood for and what I will continue to stand for.”
Hamlin did not appear to have any trouble speaking during the 5 1/2-minute video titled: “Thank You: A message from Damar Hamlin” posted on his Instagram account.
The video opens with Hamlin walking into view, placing down a jacket and taking a seat in what appears to be one of the Bills team meeting rooms. The room is dimly lit with the word `Bills’ prominently displayed behind him.
Hamlin is wearing a white T-shirt with the name of his charitable foundation, Chasing Millions, printed on the front and with a gold chain with the initials “DM” hanging around his neck.
The Bills did not immediately respond to a message about when or where the video was filmed.
On Jan. 20, Hamlin’s marketing representative Jordon Rooney said the 24-year-old player faces a long recovery while at the time still requiring oxygen and having his heart monitored regularly to ensure there are no setbacks.
Hamlin has been recovering at home since being released from the hospital on Jan. 11 to continue his rehabilitation with the Bills. He then began making regular visits to the team’s facility and was healthy enough to attend the Bills’ season-ending 27-10 loss to the Bengals in a divisional playoff game last weekend.
Hamlin spent a majority of the video providing thanks while listing his family, teammates, training staff, and the medical staff at both the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and Buffalo General Medical Center, where he split his recovery.
He thanked the Bengals and players from around the league for their support by “putting team allegiance aside.”
“You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity over division,” Hamlin said. “I’m not surprised by it, but I’m deeply grateful and I will be forever thankful and indebted to that.”
He also thanked those who donated more than $9 million to his charity over the past four weeks.
“While I’m so thankful to everybody, I know that it isn’t enough just to be thankful. This is just the beginning of the impact that I wanted to have on the world,” Hamlin said in closing the video by making a heart sign with his hands.
“I couldn’t do this without any of this support and the love,” he continued. “And I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Senators
BOSTON – The Bruins will be back on home ice on Tuesday night as they return from a lengthy five-game road trip to host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Boston has bounced back to win three straight after a brief lull in its record-breaking season produced a stretch of three losses in four games.
“Hold ourselves accountable,” Matt Grzelcyk said of how the Bruins have rebounded quickly from the downturn. “And I feel like that Winnipeg game, we got a huge goal second shift, I think that just kind of starts getting things going the right way – and having that more attacking mentality offensively, defensively, taking time and space away from them. And I think it was a good transition and that’s when we could kind of overwhelm teams.”
Here’s everything else you need to know ahead of the 7 p.m. ET puck drop on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub:
On the Injury Front
Derek Forbort did not take part in the morning skate and is unlikely to play again before the postseason, per coach Jim Montgomery. The blue liner suffered a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on March 16 in Winnipeg.
“We do not expect him back before the end of the regular season,” said Montgomery, who added that Forbort does not require surgery.
Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno, both of whom have been out for nearly a month with lower-body injuries of their own, have resumed skating. Foligno took the ice on his own ahead of Tuesday’s morning skate, while Hall joined his teammates donning a maroon non-contact jersey.
“They’re checking boxes and are progressing well, but there’s no timeline for them yet,” said Montgomery. “I still think they are a ways away. It’s not at the point where I’m starting to think about lines and stuff.”
When they do return, however, Montgomery is eager to have plenty of options up front.
“I don’t think it’s a problem. It’s a great situation,” he said. “You’ll get to see when they get back who plays with who, and a deep lineup is going to get even deeper. So, it’s a great problem to have.”
After sitting out Sunday’s game in Buffalo, David Krejci (soreness) and Dmitry Orlov (defense rotation) will be back in the lineup. A.J. Greer and Jakub Zboril will be the healthy scratches.
The Senators, on the second end of a back-to-back, snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday night with a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh. The recent downturn has pushed Ottawa (34-31-5, 73 points) six points behind Florida for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
After winning the first two games against the Bruins this season – both on home ice – the Senators fell to Boston, 3-1, on Feb. 20 at TD Garden.
“I think they won [on Monday night], so they’re probably feeling pretty good about themselves,” said Grzelcyk. “Every game probably feels pretty close to a playoff game and they haven’t been there in a few years. They’ve got a lot to prove and they’ve got a lot of young talent…a good power play.
“We’ve got to stay disciplined, something we’ve lacked in a little bit recently. I’ve got to be mindful of that and I don’t want to give them any easy opportunities. And they played last night, so get on them early and make them work for it.”
Ottawa is paced by Tim Stutzle, who leads the club with 35 goals and 78 points in 66 games. Brady Tkachuk (30-42-72) has also hit the 30-goal, 70-point plateau, while Claude Giroux (28-30-68), Alex DeBrincat (21-35-56), and Drake Batherson (21-34-55) have reached the 20-goal mark.
Tuesday’s Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Tyler Bertuzzi – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko – Tomas Nosek – Garnet Hathaway
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo
Dmitry Orlov – Connor Clifton
Linus Ullmark/Jeremy Swayman
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