The Buffalo Bills held a press conference with head coach Sean McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen following their practice Thursday. This is the first time the team met with media members since Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here is what they said.
Bills coach Sean McDermott had a lot to thank
“This press conference is about Damar Hamlin who we love and his parents and extended family. First I’d like to thank the first responders on the field and the medical teams for both teams on the field, and the medical staff at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The amount of faith, hope and love we saw on display in the last few days has been nothing but amazing. The officiating crew on the field, led by crew chief Sean Smith, handled the situation with extreme composure and compassion. Thanks to the Bengals and their ownership and especially coach Zac Taylor. To fans of both the Bills and Bengals along with all of the fans we’ve heard from in the last few days. Thanks to the media for your understanding. And finally, glory to God for keeping Damar and his family in the palm of his hand and his healing powers.”
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Quarterback Josh Allen praised McDermott’s leadership
“I can’t say enough about what he did and what he said to us in the locker room. You can’t train for this or put yourself into that situation until it happens. I want to thank our training staff for working as a single cell and saving his life.”
Josh Allen on the emotion he experienced on the field
“You lose sleep, you hurt for your brother. There’s a shared grief. But we’ve been getting regular updates and that has helped. “
“The scene just replays over and over in your head. It’s hard to describe how I felt, and how my teammates felt in that moment. It’s something we’ll never forget. But to know Damar is doing OK, we heard that news this morning and there’s nothing else that could bring our day down. We are happy for him and we can’t wait to love on him the next chance we get to see him.”
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McDermott praised the response from the Bengals
“I’m very appreciative of Zac. The NFL is so competitive and you spend all week preparing to beat each other. Zac quickly recognized the situation. It’s so important when you can engage with the opposing coach, and Zac and I were on the same page very quickly. It’s amazing how compassionate Zac and his players were. Their captains came to our locker room. It was an amazing show of compassion, empathy, and love. It’s so amazing because minutes before that we were going after each other. “
Allen on what it was like to return to the practice field
“For every person, it will be different. Putting the helmet back on today was good for our team, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say some people are going to be changed forever after being on the field and witnessing that Leaning on each other, talking to each other… we’ve had some unbelievable talks and embraces as men. There’s been a lot of that going around and you need every bit of it. The fact that we keep hearing good news about Damar helps us push forward.
“We’ll be playing with less heavy hearts after the news today, and to know that’s what he wants and that’s what his dad wants, we’re excited to get out there.”
McDermott on the resiliency of Buffalo during a challenging year
“I’m a Christian man and I’m not afraid to say it. When you’re trying to do great things sometimes you face opposition. How do I know we will overcome? Because we have to, just like we have done before in this city. I have never been around a city or region that is so in sync. This is what Western New York and the fans of the Buffalo Bills do.”
“Knowing our fan base and the connection they have with us, I think it will be very emotional in the stadium. We’re going to have to balance that to perform the way we need to. We’ve spent a number of games away and this is really good timing for us to be home and with our fans.”
This article originally appeared on the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Bills HC Sean McDermott, QB Josh Allen share thoughts on Damar Hamlin