CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins said he was “in good shape now” after hearing from Damar Hamlin’s mother about his improvement on Thursday.
Higgins was involved in the attack It happened right before Buffalo Bills safety went into cardiac arrest on the field during Monday night’s game. Doctors say Hamlin did “noticeable improvement” in the last 24 hours.
“Obviously it was hard, just because you know I had something to do with the game (and) something else,” Higgins said in his first public comments after Hamlin passed out and the game was suspended. But “everyone made me feel whole again. . I talked to his mom and everything is fine, he is doing well, so I’m in a good place now.”
Higgins said that Hamlin’s mother told him, “She’s thinking of me, praying for me and things like that.
“And all of a sudden she tells me he’s fine. And only the most positive,” said the third-year student. “I mean, it’s nice to just know that he’s okay, he feels better, and it makes me feel better inside.”
Higgins said it took him a couple of seconds after the Monday night performance to notice that something was seriously wrong. Replays showed Hamlin standing up after grabbing Higgins, then falling straight back seconds later.
“I’m a football player, I think he just failed, one of my guys hit him,” Higgins said. “I just saw the fall. I looked again and saw what happened and I just turned my head and tried not to think about it. So I knew it was something crazy and something tragic.”
Medical personnel restarted Hamlin’s heart with CPR and defibrillation. An ambulance pulled into the field and he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
“You know, it was hard (to see),” Higgins said. “Obviously (I) wasn’t in the right place to play the rest of that game, so I’m glad we decided not to play.”
Higgins’ Bengals teammate Tyler Boyd is a friend of Hamlin’s from Pittsburgh. Both played in Pitt. Boyd said he knew something was wrong when he tried to talk to Hamlin after the collapse.
“I tried to talk to him, but he didn’t give me anything,” Boyd said. “And just seeing it, and then (I) was just in shock. But it hasn’t hit me yet, you know, because it’s a football game. But one day everyone came and it got pretty serious. It touched me to the point that, man, you just can’t take things for granted. You know, like, no matter who we play against, it’s my brother, no matter what. You know, I grew up with him.”
Higgins said returning to training on Wednesday and Thursday was an emotional release. The Bengals take on the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season finals on Sunday.
“It’s hard to forget, but at the end of the day, we’re professional footballers,” he said. “We have a job to do and you just need to shift your focus and focus on the Ravens.”
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