Tee Higgins and Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin will likely be tied together forever for all the wrong reasons.
The Cincinnati Bengals receiver was the player whom Hamlin tackled right before he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during their Monday night game on Jan. 2 in Cincinnati. Hamlin received CPR on the field before being rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. The game was called off.
Medical experts believe that when the two initiated contact, Hamlin suffered from commotio cordis. In recent days after the event, Higgins’ teammate, Tyler Boyd, said he and Higgins chopped it up with Hamlin with some friendly trash talk leading into the game.
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The three of them have been to Boyd’s annual summer camp for kids, and now Higgins is looking forward to potentially reuniting with the Buffalo Bills safety before the two teams meet up in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday. Hamlin will not play.
“I’m pretty sure we’re just going to chop it up, laughs and giggles, and just be happy to see him,” Higgins said Thursday, less than three weeks since the scary affair.
Higgins has not spoken to Hamlin since that Monday night, but he did keep in touch with Hamlin’s family while he was in the hospital.
“Just letting his family do what he needs to do with all his loved ones and stuff like that,” Higgins said. “Hopefully, I get to see him on the field Sunday and speak to him.”
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That Jan. 2 game was ultimately canceled, but Higgins said that knowing that Hamlin is better (he was released from the hospital last week) has helped him focus more on their upcoming playoff matchup.
“Just another opportunity to go out there and be who I am, be who we are as a team,” Higgins said. “Obviously, knowing what happened the last time, the whole situation, knowing that he’s OK now, is going to help us out in the long run.”
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The AFC divisional round game between the two teams kicks off at 3 p.m. ET Sunday in Buffalo.