Skip to main content

Bills' Damar Hamlin: My comeback 'wasn't something that a trophy can define'

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's return to an NFL field was nothing short of a miracle.

It required quick, precise action of the part of first responders, around-the-clock care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and a lengthy recovery. And if it wasn't for the stunning renaissance of Joe Flacco with the Cleveland Browns, Hamlin likely would have earned the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award for the 2023 season.

Some were upset Flacco took home the award after setting a Browns franchise record with the most consecutive 300-plus-yard games and leading Cleveland to an unlikely playoff appearance. Hamlin heard their displeasure, but after processing the initial disappointment, he doesn't count himself among them.

"Yeah I heard about that. Heard some people were in an uproar," Hamlin said during an appearance on the Maggie and Perloff Show. "But, you know, I did at first. Not gonna lie. I did a little bit just because I'm a competitor myself. Any competition you put me in, I want to win. But I clapped for Joe as he went on stage and I clapped for him as he went off.

"At this point in my life, it's truly God's plan. God had a reason for him getting that trophy. God had a reason for his journey. I don't want to discredit that any."

The mere fact Hamlin was able to make it back onto an NFL field was a massive achievement. After a collision with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins resulted in Hamlin suffering commotio cordis, leading to his cardiac arrest, on-field CPR and subsequent treatment saved his life.

At that point, football shouldn't have been a priority. But Hamlin remained determined to make it back onto the field and achieved his goal in 2024, appearing in five games and recording two tackles.

The stats don't matter. Each day Hamlin wakes up, he's reminded of what's important.

"I truly feel with my journey, my comeback per se, it wasn't a worldly thing. It wasn't something that a trophy can define," Hamlin said. "God gave me his trophy of still waking up every day, still living, still breathing. Having a healthy life. Having a healthy family. Being blessed with every opportunity I'm placed in right now."

There's no telling where Hamlin's career goes from here. The former sixth-round pick is still with the Bills entering 2024, but even if his football career ended tomorrow, it's likely he'd consider it a success.

"I would be crazy to be upset about a one-foot trophy," he said. "That signifies so much -- I don't want to discredit it at all because I did want to win, but I feel like my journey is way more spiritual than a worldly award."

Related Content