Bills GM: Hamlin's return hinges on his medical progress
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has a few more visits to doctors before determining whether he can pursue his goal of returning to play football after going into cardiac arrest and having to be resuscitated on field in January.
In providing the update at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Hamlin’s “end game” is to resume playing so long as he receives the necessary medical clearance.
“If we’re able to get full clearance and he feels he’s ready to do it, that’s another big smile of a story. Not only that he’s just got his life back, but that he’d have his football career back,” Beane said. "I would love to give the storybook ending that he’s definitely going to play, but we just don’t know that yet. But if he does, we’ll be very happy for him.”
Beane said “all is well” with Hamlin’s test results after visiting numerous specialists around the country, with two or three more visits still scheduled. He said the Bills medical staff is traveling with Hamlin to get a clear picture of the player’s status, because the team would also have to provide clearance in allowing him to return to the field.
Hamlin has enjoyed what doctors are calling a remarkable recovery since collapsing on the field after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter of a game against the Bengals which was suspended and eventually canceled.
The second-year player from Pittsburgh's exurb of McKee's Rock spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in both Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released. He eventually began visiting the Bills facility and attended the team’s season-ending 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Hamlin has since made numerous appearances around the country, including during the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona, where he received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. He also took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honored the Bills and Bengals training and medical staffs and first responders who treated the 24-year-old.