NFL Fans Question Bills After Cutting Ex-Vikings Star

Xavier Rhodes

Getty Former Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (left) was cut by the Bills on January 4, 2023.

Former Minnesota Vikings star cornerback Xavier Rhodes‘ release from the Buffalo Bills has conjured some questions from the NFL community in the wake of Damar Hamlin’s medical emergency.

Rhodes was released to make room for New York Jets safety Jared Mayden, who was signed off the Jets’ practice squad on January 4, per a team release.

The move has raised some eyebrows on social media given the timing, just a couple of days after Hamlin collapsed on the field on Monday Night Football. Hamlin remains in critical condition at a Cincinnati-area hospital, according to CNN.

Fans Question Bills Signing Safety With Damar Hamlin Still Hospitalized

Reacting to the Bills’ announcement of their signing of Mayden, fans were quick to call the move how they see it.

One fan tweeted: “Y’all couldn’t have waited a lil bit longer bro??”

“And just like that Damar Hamlin was replaced,” another fan tweeted.

“He’s not being ‘replaced,’ but with [starting safety Jordan] Poyer being injured and tragic events of Damar, they need to be fully prepared for Sunday, because whether we like it or not, week 18 is still scheduled for this weekend,” one fan tweeted, although Poyer was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. “I promise you, they’re not brushing Damar off their shoulder.”

While the prevailing logic is that the Bills have a game to play on Sunday, Buffalo had four healthy safeties ready for their season finale against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Mayden now makes it five.

The Bills have plenty to play for with a chance to clinch the top seed in the AFC with a win over the Patriots and a Kansas City Chiefs loss. The Chiefs play the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, so Buffalo will know if there’s anything to gain from playing their starters by Saturday night.

If the Chiefs win, Poyer could be a candidate to be rested on Sunday, making the Mayden signing more reasonable. The move, although made in the epicenter of Hamlin’s emergency, is necessary if they hope to have Mayden prepared for the postseason. He may not see the field for Week 18, but the hope he’ll contribute in the postseason requires him to become acclimated to the playbook and scheme — which takes more than a week.

However, the move is another example of the league and season moving on while calls to put all action on pause have gained traction this week.

Vikings’ Harrison Phillips Buys Staff Treating Damar Hamlin Dinner

The Bills updated Hamlin’s status Wednesday morning, saying the 24-year-old has shown “signs of improvement,” ESPN reported.

“Damar remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight,” the Bills’ statement read. “He is expected to remain under intensive care as his healthcare team continues to monitor and treat him.

Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, who spent four years in Buffalo, bought dinner for Hamlin’s family, the tram training staff and the ICU doctors and nurses who are caring for him, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported.

Phillips’ Harrison’s Playmakers charity has a portal for donations.

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