In what is the most incredible news, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has had his breathing tube removed overnight and has been able to talk with his family, teammates and medical team. Hamlin awoke earlier in the week, with his first question being, “Who won the game?”
On Friday, Hamlin FaceTimed with his teammates when Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott brought the safety up on the phone via Zoom. McDermott told reporters that Hamlin “flexed” on his teammates immediately.
Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said on Thursday that removing the breathing tube would be an important step, and they said in a statement via the Bills Friday morning that “[h]is neurologic function remains intact” and that “[h]e continues to progress remarkably in his recovery.”
Like I said, the most incredible of news.
Hamlin to Be Honored in Week 18
Damar Hamlin will be honored by the NFL during this weekend’s Week 18 games. Fanatics produced 150 T-shirts for every home team – and the shirts will be shared with the away teams – that say, “Love for Damar.”
All NFL players will have the option of wearing black Nike t-shirts that say, “ Love for Damar 3,” while the Bills will wear the same shirt in their royal blue team color. Bills football personnel will be provided with hats with “3” on them. The Bills’ jerseys will have “3” patches on them. All teams can outline the “3” at each 30-yard line in either red or blue.
The Bills are working on ways to honor first responders and team trainers Sunday, as their quick response saved Hamlin’s life.
Potential Neutral Site for the AFC Championship
On Friday, NFL owners approved a plan for a potential neutral-site AFC Championship Game, while a coin flip could determine home-field advantage for a wild-card game between the Bengals and the Ravens.
As the NFL has decided to cancel Monday night’s Week 17 game between the Bills and the Bengals, the following scenarios were approved, based on what happens during Week 18, for the AFC Championship taking place on neutral ground:
• If Buffalo (12-3) and Kansas City (13-3) each win or tie, a Bills-Chiefs championship game would take place at a neutral location.
• If the Bills and the Chiefs both lose and the Ravens win or tie, then a Bills-Chiefs championship game would take place at a neutral location.
• If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati (11-4) wins, a Bills or Bengals vs. Chiefs championship game would take place at a neutral location.
If the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday and play them again in an AFC wild-card game, a coin flip decides the site.
I totally understand if you have to read this slide two, or 12, times.
At Sunday’s Kyle Shanahan Bowl – Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins hosting Robert Saleh’s Jets – Miami will turn to rookie QB Skylar Thompson to lead them to the promised land, aka the playoffs.
Teddy Bridgewater has a dislocated pinky finger on his throwing hand, while Tua Tagovailoa is still in the concussion protocol. Per McDaniel, the Dolphins have high hopes for Bridgewater’s availability at QB2.
The Dolphins were 8-3, but after having lost five in a row, they need to beat the Jets and need a New England Patriots loss or tie to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
More NFL QB Updates
- Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson is out for Sunday’s game against the Bengals. Jackson has been out since suffering a PCL injury on Dec. 4 and Baltimore has gone 2-2 in his absence. Jackson’s status for the playoffs remains unknown.
- After having missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is hoping to return for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. Philadelphia has lost its last two games, which means that, all of a sudden, the Cowboys can win the NFC East and the No. 1 seed is in jeopardy.