The NFL is a brotherhood, and has come together as one to support Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he suffered a life-threatening situation.
In the first quarter of the Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin collapsed, suffering cardiac arrest. The game was postponed.
Hamlin remains in critical condition, and has reportedly shown signs of improvement, according to a statement from the Buffalo Bills.
DJ Turner perhaps has the closest personal relationship to Hamlin among the Silver and Black. The wide receiver was teammates with the Bills safety during the 2020 season at the University of Pittsburgh. Turner described who Hamlin is as a person, with his former teammate on his mind and heart a lot since Monday night.
"I met him awhile back while we were in high school. He's one of those people that everybody wants to be around," Turner said. "He's probably the coolest person I've ever met in my life. His energy is that super attractive energy that everybody wants to be around. Everybody wants to be a little bit like [him]. He's a guy that everybody loves. ... Of course everybody was showing their support, but everybody who knows him – you can feel the energy that everybody loves Damar.
"He's a great dude who has a great family. His parents are great, his little brother thinks the world of him – I'm sure they're all going through so much right now. [I] give him my support fully. I'm here for him and my family is there for him and his family. Whatever he needs to be able to pull through, we're all here."
Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels and his team, like the rest of the NFL, have been discussing the incident and the risks associated with the game, while keeping Hamlin at the forefront of their minds. During his Wednesday morning media availability, the head coach sent his "thoughts and prayers to Damar, his family and the entire Bills organization."
Additionally, the Raiders started their morning meeting off with doctors and mental health specialists speaking with the team to make sure players are supported in any way possible through the unprecedented time. They'll be available throughout the week to provide resources and answers to any questions or concerns the players, staff or their families may have.
"Monday night was a scary situation," said McDaniels. "I think there's a lot of feeling and sentiment, you can tell in our building and I'm sure around the league, just concerned for his well-being and as it should be. I thought that [Bills Head Coach] Sean [McDermott] and [Bengals Head Coach] Zac [Taylor] did a great job of handling the situation as well as they could the other night. And we'll continue to be thinking about them and hoping for good news obviously as we go through the week."
"We did talk about all this, and I think that's a good thing. And if we need to talk about it more, we will," McDaniels added. "Any resource that they need available to them is going to be made available. I think that we'll do the best thing we can in terms of blessing them with our effort and attention to detail so that we can do the right things."
In the days since, many have turned their attention to a fundraiser established in 2020 supporting a toy drive for Hamlin's childhood community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, through his Chasing M's Foundation. As of Wednesday evening, the GoFundMe has raised over $6.6 million.
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium