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Joe Burrow discusses 'very, very scary' Damar Hamlin situation: 'It was a very emotional 48 hours'

Like so many others, Joe Burrow is still struggling to process what happened Monday night in Cincinnati.

On Wednesday, the Bengals quarterback spoke for the first time since Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during Monday night's game against the Bengals. The Bills announced Thursday morning that Hamlin "has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours" and "appears to be neurologically intact."

"A lot of emotions, obviously. Very, very scary," Burrow said of his experience the past two days. "Not a lot of clarity. A lot of rumors, just a lot of stuff going around. So it was a very emotional 48 hours. Not a lot of words you can say about what happened."

The frightening scene left many players from the Bills and Bengals visibly emotional on the field, with both teams gathering around Hamlin and offering support for one another as the harrowing scene unfolded. Burrow approached Bills quarterback Josh Allen, attempting to help his friend as medical personnel urgently tended to Hamlin.

Burrow explained what happened in those moments Wednesday, telling reporters, "it was pretty clear early that it wasn't just a normal football injury."

"We tried to do all we could," Burrow said. "We went over there and saw him and tried to give like, you said, give as much support as you can in a situation like that. Nobody wanted to continue to play the game in a situation like that. I know how everybody would be feeling in our locker room if it was one of our guys, and I know how we were feeling and it was one of their guys. So it was a scary and emotional night."

In the minutes and hours after the game was postponed, Burrow made sure to express his feelings of love and support for his teammates while also serving as a leading voice for the team in an unprecedented moment Monday night.

Burrow said Wednesday he expressed gratitude for how his head coach, Zac Taylor, took charge during those moments, adding he feels "proud ... to be playing for a guy like Zac."

Defensive tackle D.J. Reader expressed similar sentiments about his starting quarterback.

"[Burrow] especially did a great job of, you know, leading a charge for us, going over there and talking to their captains and just as a team coming up and just telling each other we loved each other," Reader said Wednesday. "It's such a macho sport and things like that, you don't say it to your brothers as often as you should. Especially somebody who, you riding with, you sweat with, you bleed with, you break bread with all the time. Something that should be said more because that's what the respect is that we have for each other in this game.

"So it was good to have everybody else come up and just really just say we love each other, wrap our arms around each other and just all be there for each other."

Week 18 kicks off on Saturday, and Burrow and the Bengals have been tasked with attempting to reset and prepare for another game on a short week. The Bengals host the Ravens on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in a meeting that could decide the AFC North title.

Burrow knows it won't be as simple as moving on mentally from what he and his teammates witnessed Monday night. When asked if he knows whether his teammates want to play this weekend, Burrow wasn't certain.

"Personally, I think playing would be -- is going to be tough," he said. "But there's people that want to play, too, and people that don't. Personally, I probably want to play. I think getting back to as normal as you can, as fast as you can, is how I deal with these kinds of things. But like I said, everybody has a different way of dealing with it."

The NFL announced on Wednesday that talks have begun on whether to resume Week 17's Bills-Bengals game. NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said on a conference call that the league has not made a decision on the status of the game but plans to in the coming days.

"I think that would be tough, just scheduling-wise," Burrow said of finishing the game at a later date. "I think whatever Buffalo would want to do, would be what we would want to do as well. We're behind them 100 percent and support them in whatever they would decide to do going forward."

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