'While You Pray for Damar Say One for Tee Higgins, Too'

Messages of support come pouring in for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver who hit Bills' safety Hamlin
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2023 9:20 AM CST
Bills Fan Pens Touching Note to Player Who Hit Hamlin
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) runs near Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

Prayers are pouring in from across the country for the Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin, but also for the man who tackled him immediately before his heart stopped. The Cincinnati Bengals' Tee Higgins was seen leaving Paycor Stadium with his arm wrapped around his mother after Hamlin was taken to a hospital and Monday's game was suspended. "I'm praying that you pull through bro," the 23-year-old receiver later tweeted at Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety. The tweet went viral, racking up more than 250,000 likes, with many urging Higgins to focus on his mental health. "You've got a lot of prayer coming your way as well, man," responded Del Reid, co-founder of the Bills Mafia fan base. "None of this is on you. Don't let those thoughts creep in or linger."

"Wasn't your fault Tee. Just a football play. A one in a million chance," wrote Rennae Stubbs, host of The Power Hour on Amazon Prime Video Sports Talk. "While you pray for Damar say one for Tee Higgins too," added CBS Sports reporter Allan Bell. "Just being involved in the play can wreck your mentals and emotions. Pray for them all." NFL officials described players from both teams as "traumatized" by the incident—a key reason why the game was postponed with 5:58 left in the first quarter. Hamlin had briefly stood up following the hit from Higgins, then fell backward onto the field. Bills players were "emotionally distraught" and several "were seen crying and kneeling to pray while Hamlin was tended to by medical professionals," per Heavy.com.

Ryan Clark, a former NFL safety turned commentator, told ESPN's SportsCenter that the league should provide mental health resources to those involved. "If the NFL isn't flying people to Cincinnati right now, or to Buffalo, or wherever they're going right now—they are missing the point. The point is: Make sure these men are all right, and then you can play football," he said, per Insider. He added the next time "we're upset that the guy on our team doesn't make the play, and we're saying he's worthless, and we're saying you get to make all this money, we should remember that these men are putting their lives on the line to live their dream." Hamlin remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, with his mother attending him. (More NFL stories.)

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