ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – What was once a routine for Damon Hamlin, going to practice with his helmet on, has become something that the Buffalo Bills safety did with a call to his parents. decided to celebrate.
That’s what happened last week, general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday, as Hamlin participated in a normal practice for the first time in six months after nearly dying during a game in Cincinnati.
“I’m so proud of him and excited about where he’s gotten on this journey,” Beane insisted.
“He still has more milestones to hit. But in retrospect, we are at the beginning of June. It was only in early January that we had hope that he would be alive. Now not only does he have a normal life, but we are Talking about, not just playing football, but playing NFL football.”
Beane said the Bills’ practice Tuesday was the first time reporters were allowed to see Hamlin, who was wearing his helmet and took part in several plays.
Hamlin enjoyed his first full session on May 31 in practice closed to the press. After that workout, the player called his parents in Pittsburgh.
Prior to this, Hamlin was limited to attending or pulling individual practices through May 22, when the Bills’ voluntary spring season opened. The 25-year-old is determined to resume his playing career after going into cardiac arrest that required CPR in the middle of the game on Jan. 2 after seemingly making a takedown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The NFL canceled the game because of the chilling downpour. Hamlin spent 10 days recuperating in hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo.
In his third year in the league, Hamlin was allowed to play in April. They have spent a good part of the last two months training on setting up the equipment.
Hamlin looked optimistic on Tuesday. He waved to the cameras headed his way during a pre-practice drill.