Damar Hamlin Leaves Note for Bills Teammates in Locker Room

Damar Hamlin

Getty Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills attends the 12th annual NFL Honors at Symphony Hall on February 09, 2023.

Last month, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane revealed incredible news that Damar Hamlin has been “fully cleared” to return to the field and play football, and the safety wants to make his teammates know that he’s appreciated their support throughout his harrowing journey.

On Tuesday, May 9, several Bills players, including wide receiver Gabe Davis, defensive end Gregory Rousseau, and defensive tackle Brandin Bryant shared the personal note and gifts Hamlin left for everyone in the locker room. In addition to handing out Beats by Dre headphones, the 25-year-old wrote his “brothers” a heartfelt message.

“It’s been a long rollercoaster of emotions this entire season,” Hamlin wrote. “I wouldn’t have wanted to go through it with any other group of men. I appreciate you all for the support through my tough times. Knowing I had you guys riding behind me made the process that much easier getting back healthy. Know that you have a brother for life in me.”

Bills defensive tackle Eli Ankou shared the note on his Instagram Stories and wrote, “Thank you for the gift 3! It’s been a pleasure witnessing the return,” while Rousseau wrote, “The biggest, real one @d.ham3.”

USA Today’s Bradley Gelber shared a screenshot of Hamlin’s letter on Twitter, which caused an emotional response from fans. One man tweeted, “Seems like a great kid. Regardless of whether he plays again or not he has a bright future. Prayer is real,” while another person wrote, “IM NOT CRYING IM FINE.”

Hamlin also tweeted out a strong message on Tuesday night. He wrote, “Soon enough, our worst days will only be a distant memory 🫶🏾.”

‘My Heart Is Still in the Game,’ Damar Hamlin Said of Returning to the NFL

While Hamlin has acknowledged the mental roadblocks still standing ahead of him, his desire to play is stronger than ever. “My heart is still in the game,” he said on April 18 while participating in his first official press conference with the team since suffering cardiac arrest on January 2.

“I love the game. It’s something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else. I just want to show people that fear is a choice. You can keep going in something without having the answers and without knowing what’s at the end of the tunnel. Or you might feel anxious, you might feel any type of way, but you keep putting that right foot in front of the left one and you keep going. I want to stand for that.”

“Not to sound cliché, but the wild moment is every day just being able to wake up and take deep breaths and live a peaceful life,” the Bills’ former 2021 sixth-round pick said.

“To have a family, to have people around me that love me and care about me, and for those people to still have me in their lives. You know they almost lost me. I died on national TV in front of the whole world. So, I see it from all perspectives. For them to still have me around, and for me to still have them, it goes both ways. And I lost a bunch of people in my life, and I know a bunch of people who have lost people in their lives, and I know that feeling. So that right there is just the biggest blessing of it all. For me to still have my people, and for my people to still have me.”

There’s No Rush When It Comes to Hamlin’s Return

While Bills head coach Sean McDermott is “super excited” for Hamlin’s return, the Bills head coach reiterated that it would be a lengthy process before the safety steps back onto the field.

“He’s moving forward one step at a time here,” McDermott told reporters of Hamlin’s comeback. “He’s been cleared from a physical standpoint and we’ll provide all the mental health we can from a mind, body, and spiritual standpoint. So just happy for him. That he’s been able to check some of those boxes to this point and moving forward we’re taking it one step at a time.”

With the return of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde back to full health, the Bills have their starting safety duo ready to go. The Bills also signed Taylor Rapp in free agency, which means there shouldn’t be a rush for Hamlin’s return. Christian Benford is also predicted to switch from cornerback to safety this season.

“To stay on on the safe and understanding side,” The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia predicts Hamlin will likely start the 2023 NFL season on the PUP list.