Kansas City Chiefs leaders addressed the media on January 4 for the first time since the medical emergency on Monday Night Football that left Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin in critical condition.
Head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes shared their thoughts on the emotional situation ahead of Week 18 as the Chiefs prepare to face the Las Vegas Raiders.
“It sent chills through my body when I was watching it,” Mahomes said of Hamlin’s sudden on-field collapse on January 2. “All I did was just sit there and pray for him because that’s all that you can do when you feel like you can’t help. I’ve been watching updates just like everybody, trying to make sure that, first off, Damar is healthy and he can get back.”
Patrick Mahomes Understands Nothing Is Promised in the NFL
The Chiefs’ team leader continued fielding questions on Hamlin throughout the press conference.
“At the end of the day we’re people, not just players, and I think everybody understands that even more now.” he said. “I think the players have a good understanding of that — or at least, hopefully we do — but I think you can get caught up [during] the season [in the mentality of] how can I get myself better to win a game, instead of just taking in every single day and just taking it for what it is, and it’s not promised. It puts stuff in perspective for you, but you still come to the building, and you have a greater respect for the game and a greater respect for the people around you because they’re giving everything that they have every single time.”
The Chiefs’ signal-caller confirmed he had reached out via text to Bills quarterback Josh Allen and center Mitch Morse, who spent the first four years of his career with the Chiefs from 2015 to 2018.
“I just texted them and said I was praying for them and their team,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, it impacts us but there are guys that you go to work with every single day, and you’re brothers. People say it, but you are brothers. You see these people sometimes more than your family. And so, you build this brotherhood and I just wanted to let them know that I’m doing whatever I can from far away to pray for them and just be with them.”
Andy Reid: ‘We’re All Pulling for Damar’
Coach Reid also addressed Hamlin’s medical emergency on Wednesday, describing what the players witnessed on the field “obviously devastating” and “a kick in the gut feeling.”
“There are a lot of things that you take out of that from a humanity standpoint,” Reid told reporters. “We’re all pulling for Damar as he goes forward here. We actually had a team prayer for him yesterday with our team chaplain, thinking that any bit of extra that we can get to support him we’re trying to do from afar. Our prayers are also with his family as they go forward.”
Reid said the team “played it by ear” while preparing for a Week 18 matchup against the Raiders.
“We’ve tried to put our focus in on taking care of the football part. We’re trying to take a positive outlook on it the best we can in this situation.”
The Chiefs head coach commended the NFL and the Bills’ and Bengals’ franchises for their decision to postpone the game after Hamlin was taken off the field by ambulance.
“It was the absolutely right decision,” Reid said. “The game didn’t need to go on after that. I thought both of them together did a great job.”
Reid described the outpouring of public support in the wake of the situation as “phenomenal.”
“That’s the great part about us as humans, we come to the rescue,” he said. “We probably need more of that.”
In a January 4 interview with the Associated Press, Hamlin’s marketing representative Jordan Rooney said the safety’s recovery from cardiac arrest is moving “in a positive direction.”
“We all remain optimistic,” Rooney told the AP. He added that Hamlin’s family asked him not to go into further detail.
On Wednesday, the Bills confirmed Hamlin was still in critical condition in the intensive care unit but displayed “signs of improvement.”