January 29, 2023

The phrase “thoughts and prayers” has been spoken, texted and tweeted countless times since Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football. On Tuesday, one ESPN analyst took the phrase to heart, praying for Hamlin on live TV. As Hamlin remains in critical condition, Dan Orlovsky said a prayer for the Buffalo Bills’ safety during Tuesday’s edition of “NFL Live.”

“God, we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that you’re God, and coming to you and praying to you has impact,” Orlovsky said.

“We’re sad, we’re angry, and we want answers, but some things are unanswerable. We just want to pray, truly come to you and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar, to be with his family, and to give them peace. If we didn’t believe that prayer didn’t work, we wouldn’t ask this of you, God. I believe in prayer; we believe in prayer. We lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in your name. Amen.”

Hamlin received CPR for over nine minutes on the field before being taken away in an ambulance and admitted to an intensive care unit at a local hospital. “We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far,” the Bills’ statement from Tuesday afternoon said.

Hamlin’s family released a statement Tuesday expressing “sincere gratitude” for the outpouring of support they received amid a “challenging time” for the family. They also thanked the more than 150,000 fans who have donated nearly $4 million to his charity toy drive fund.

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country,” the statement said.

The NFL announced earlier Tuesday that Hamlin spent the night in an ICU, and the postponed game will not be finished this week. The scary incident occurred with 5:58 remaining in the first quarter and Cincinnati leading the game, 7-3. The Bengals were on their second drive of the game when quarterback Joe Burrow threw a pass to Tee Higgins. Bills safety Hamlin came over to make a tackle to end the play.

The NFL Players Association also released a statement on the matter. “The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL,” the NFLPA said in a tweet. “The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well-being.”

NFL executive Troy Vincent said in a conference call with reporters that he had “never seen anything like it” and played for several years in the league. The Bills selected Hamlin with the No. 212 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. He played in 14 games last season – mostly on special teams – in his rookie season. Hamlin, 24, was playing his 16th game of the season. He had seen more time on the field as he recorded 91 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

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