NFL Provides Update on Completion of Postponed Bills-Bengals Game

Sean McDermott

Getty Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott speaks to officials during a break in play following safety Damar Hamlin's injury.

The NFL announced on Tuesday, January 3, that the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals will not complete their Week 17 Monday Night Football game this week after the game was suspended following the medical emergency involving Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

The 24-year-old Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest with 5:58 remaining in the first quarter of Monday’s Week 17 game, taking a hard hit to the chest as he tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin collapsed to the field seconds later. He was transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

League Pushes Bills-Bengals Game Back Indefinitely

In a statement released after 1 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, the league said that it came to a decision on the game after speaking with both organizations.

“The NFL continues to be in regular contact with the medical team caring for Damar Hamlin, and also the Bills and Bengals organizations and the NFL Players Association,” the statement read.

“After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week.”

The statement added that the NFL had not made a decision on the possible resumption of the game, and that no changes would be made to the current Week 18 schedule.

At present, the Bills are set to face the New England Patriots in Buffalo on Sunday, January 8, at 1 p.m. Eastern time in what is scheduled to be the regular season finale.

The statement was shared with teams in a memo on Tuesday afternoon, the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

It was clear soon after Hamlin’s medical emergency that the game would not be completed on Monday night. The league had initially announced that the game was suspended, and NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said on Monday night that some Bills players returned to Buffalo while others remained in Cincinnati.

“There were a handful of players that wanted to stay back with their teammates, and there was others that planned on returning back to Orchard Park,” Vincent said, via Pro Football Talk.

The game could have implications for the playoffs, with both the Bills and Bengals still in contention for the top overall seed in the AFC. The Bills (12-3) held the top spot going into Week 17, and would need a win to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated the Denver Broncos on January 1 to move to 13-3.

Team Shares Update on Damar Hamlin’s Condition

The Bills shared a second update on Hamlin’s condition on Tuesday at 1:23 p.m. Eastern time, confirming that Hamlin remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

“Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center,” the statement read. “We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far.”

Hamlin’s family also released a statement on Tuesday, January 3, thanking medical staff for their dedicated work and others for their prayers and support. The family said they “will release updates as soon as we have them.”
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