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The Buffalo Bills were ready to play football again this weekend, but they were also ready to honor their teammate, Damar Hamlin … and they did both in equal measure.
The squad took the field Sunday against the Patriots, with a ton of players — including QB Josh Allen — carrying custom flags that asked people to “Pray for Damar,” which also bared his official number, 3. The Bills are at home, so their crowd was completely fired up.
There were several fan-made posters with their own messages for Damar … bottom line, everyone had the safety on their mind. And everyone paid tribute in their own unique way.
This wasn’t the only nod to Damar … before kickoff, the team acknowledged and thanked the medical staff that worked on DH almost a week ago, who undoubtedly saved his life.
The @BuffaloBills return the opening kick. You couldn’t write this script.
📺: #NEvsBUF on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Zuxd3911Wt pic.twitter.com/8SexEVXpTN
— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2023
On the football field, itself … even more magic from Buffalo. Nyheim Hines caught the opening kickoff and sent back a 90-plus-yard return — running practically all the way down the field, breaking tackles along the way, and scored a touchdown in a miraculous play.
It was a helluva way to start the game … and you could see and hear the excitement both among his teammates and even in the booth — where the broadcasters described it as “storybook” type stuff. Damar himself seemed to love it … tweeting, “OMFG!!!!!!”
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023
Speaking of Damar … his condition continues to improve, and he was showing his guy support from his hospital bed — posting a photo of himself with a “Love for Damar” tee, and telling the Bills it was “GAMETIME.”
Looks like they heard him loud and clear, because the Bills are here to play.