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The Buffalo Bills safety is making his return to Paycor Stadium, where he suffered cardiac arrest mid-game in January
Damar Hamlin is ready for an “emotional” return to Cincinnati.
The Buffalo Bills safety, who suffered cardiac arrest at the Bengals' Paycor Stadium during a Monday Night Football game in January, says he is ready for his first trip back since the incident, when the Bills take on the Bengals this Sunday.
"I think it’s going to be super-electric, and I think it’s going to be nothing but love,” Hamlin, 25, told teammate Von Miller on The Voncast. “Only thing I got to compare it to is just going back into our stadium and how much love and reception [he got]. Going back into there, I’m pretty sure it’ll be like a bunch of memories, which will make it emotional for me. But, I ain’t running from it, I’m ready to walk through the fire.”
It’s uncertain whether Hamlin, who as a backup safety has played in three games this season, will take the field this weekend, but he added that he is ready for the moment — even if he’s along the sidelines.
“I think it's going to be all love, I think it’s going to be all energy, all support,” he told Miller. “I’m super-excited to see it. I’m thankful, I’m blessed and I’m just appreciative on both ends of the support from everybody in Cincinnati.”
In the months after his medical emergency, Hamlin held out hope and shared his desire to return to playing football.
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Last February, he told Good Morning America's Michael Strahan that he was “still trying to process” the emotions that came with the trauma, but was moving forward with his recovery.
"I'm doing great," Hamlin said. "Every morning, every night, I take 10 deep breaths to myself and it puts everything in perspective for me."
And in September, the now-advocate for heart health said his emergency gave him a new perspective on life.
"You can never take it for granted," Hamlin said, per ESPN. "Every year, so many people who don't get the opportunity to make the team that you have to show respect for it when you do and you can never take it for granted because, the NFL, they say it stands for not for long. So, to be able to go through my situation and then be able to come back and still show that I can still do it is super big and it means a lot to me and my family."
On the podcast Thursday, Hamlin credited his fellow teammate Miller with encouraging him further, and for helping him keep the experience in perspective.
“Like you told me, “Man, you already won,’” Hamlin said. “Literally, like the hard part is already over.”
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