Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins spoke with reporters for the first time Thursday since Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during their Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game.
Joe Danneman @FOX19Joe
"I'm in a good place right now."<br><br>Tee Higgins' first public comments since Monday Night Football. Said he spoke with Damar Hamlin's mother. Said it's hard to forget about, but they're professional football players and have to move forward. <a href="https://t.co/mpw4UCksNe">pic.twitter.com/mpw4UCksNe</a>
Hamlin and Higgins collided as the safety leaned in to make a tackle on the wideout, who streaked across the field and lunged forward for extra yardage after catching a pass from quarterback Joe Burrow in the first quarter. It was a seemingly routine play and not outside the rules of the game on either side.
Hamlin stood up after the tackle but then collapsed to the ground. Bills medical personnel rushed onto the field to attend to Hamlin, who was resuscitated on the field after suffering cardiac arrest. The game was suspended and later postponed and now reportedly has been canceled entirely, per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press.
Hamlin was rushed to UC Medical Center, where he was sedated and listed in critical condition. He made signs of improvement Tuesday and Wednesday before further positive news emerged Thursday, when the Bills offered an encouraging update:
Members of his medical team spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Recap from Damar Hamlin's doctors:<br><br>▪ Damar is awake and using a breathing tube<br>▪ Bills staff saved his life<br>▪ Damar is communicating through writing and asked who won the game<br>▪ Best possible outcome is for Damar to return to who he was before the game <a href="https://t.co/994h8YIUTf">pic.twitter.com/994h8YIUTf</a>
As for Higgins, he offered his thoughts and prayers Monday evening to Hamlin and his family.
Hamlin's family has been supportive of the wideout, to the point where they have condemned any criticism he received in the aftermath of the collision.
Rachel Hopmayer @rachelhopmayer
"If you think you're support Damar by bashing Tee (<a href="https://twitter.com/teehiggins5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@teehiggins5</a>), you're not supporting Damar" — <a href="https://twitter.com/jordonr?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jordonr</a> <br><br>Just caught up with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> Damar Hamlin's close friend and marketing rep outside UCMC. He also clarified that it was a misunderstanding that Hamlin was resuscitated twice. <a href="https://t.co/lrvdvVxbSp">pic.twitter.com/lrvdvVxbSp</a>
Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen also voiced his support for Higgins while speaking to reporters on Thursday:
Numerous NFL players came to Higgins' defense as well, including Burrow and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, the latter of whom criticized ESPN analyst (and ex-NFL linebacker) Bart Scott for some comments.
Micah Parsons @MicahhParsons11
Yoo are we serious?!!?why do we let some people speak on tv?! This was a freak incident but putting fault on another player is wild! They should make some of these guys go over lines or something or not even give them a seat at the table! <a href="https://t.co/ctJVfu6cuf">https://t.co/ctJVfu6cuf</a>
Higgins' Bengals teammates also have his back as well, with wide receiver Tyler Boyd adding remarks on that front:
Bills fans have also supported Hamlin, to the point where Bills Mafia started a GoFundMe in support of the Axe ALS Foundation, which Higgins himself supported as part of this year's My Cause, My Cleats campaign.
Higgins is in his third year in the NFL, all with the Bengals. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season on Dec. 24 against the New England Patriots.