Updated Jan 8, 2023 - Sports

Damar Hamlin honored during Buffalo Bills' first game since cardiac arrest

Football jersey closeup with patch of number three.

A patch in support of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is seen prior to the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium on Jan. 8, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills hosted the New England Patriots on Sunday in their first game since safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The big picture: As Hamlin continues to recover, he tweeted during Sunday's game while his teammates, the NFL and fans showed their support in a number of ways.

  • The sports world was reeling as Hamlin was in critical condition last week, but he has made significant improvement.
  • In his first public comments Saturday, Hamlin said, "The Love has been overwhelming, but I'm thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out."

Details: During Sunday's game, the Bills wore No. 3, Hamlin's number, as jersey patches. As the team ran onto the field Sunday, some members carried flags that said "Pray for Damar 3" and most held up the No. 3 with their fingers in a mid-field huddle, per the NFL.

  • Several league teams also highlighted the number 3 on the field by painting both 30-yard lines.
  • The Bills Mafia showed support by wearing homemade T-shirts and signing a 10-foot get-well card, AP reports.
  • Fans also held cardboard cutouts of his name, number and red hearts.

State of play: With emotions high at Highmark Stadium, the Bills' Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, prompting an ecstatic response from Hamlin at the hospital, who tweeted, "OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

  • Hines returned another kickoff for a second touchdown in the third quarter β€” "the first time since 2010 that a player has returned two kickoff returns for TDs in a single game," per the Bills.
  • "πŸ”“πŸ”“πŸ”“HINES FREEπŸ”“πŸ”“πŸ”“," Hamlin tweeted in response.

What they're saying: "GameDay.. Nothing I Want More Than To Be Running Out That Tunnel With My Brothers. God Using Me In A Different Way Today. Tell Someone You Love Them Today!" Hamlin tweeted Sunday.

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