Jets coach Robert Saleh opened up the team meeting Wednesday morning to his players to voice their feelings about Bills safety Damar Hamlin having cardiac arrest on the field Monday night in Cincinnati.
“It’s an unfortunate tragedy,” Saleh said. “Just opened it up in the team room, just opened it up for the guys to speak. Obviously, our doctors were in there if they had any questions for the docs. We gave the doctors the forum to kind of speak on that, too. It’s a very hard situation as I’m sure it is in every building in the NFL right now. Just our thoughts and prayers to him. Praying for a speedy recovery.”
Jets players were shaken up after watching Hamlin collapse on “Monday Night Football.” It was a reminder of how dangerous football can be.
“It’s truly a gut-wrenching feeling to think about that we go out here and play this game and that’s a real possibility that can take place,” defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. “Thoughts and prayers go out to that family and to him. You just pray that he’s able to walk out of there fine and he’s able to live his life normally for the rest of his life.”
Saleh said it should be a reminder to everyone of how much risk football players take.
“When I’ve gotten up here and I’ve talked about how these young men deserve everything they’ve got. They earn it all,” Saleh said. “They deserve to have as much as they’re asking for and they deserve whatever the NFL is willing to give them. It’s because we know what they do every day. We know how hard it is to play this game. It’s not just playing the game of football. It’s all the preparation and how much their bodies hurt every day. When you look at guys like Duane Brown and George Fant and how much they’re sacrificing just to step on the field.”
Rankins, like many watching, initially thought Hamlin had suffered a significant injury but nothing like what actually occurred.
“I was watching the game as it happened and was almost in disbelief because he made the tackle and then he got up for a split second and then he collapsed,” Rankins said. “In the moment, what actually is taking place is not what anybody could have fathomed what was actually going on. You’re probably thinking, ‘oh maybe it’s just a bad concussion’ or something like that. Obviously, it’s still bad but not to the degree to what is actually taking place currently. It’s tough to watch that and then understand that’s truly the life we live. Going out there, you just never know what could happen on a given play and it’s such a freak accident.”