Winter 2022

Bills QB Josh Allen describes his 'spiritual awakening' in events surrounding Damar Hamlin

Immediately following the Buffalo Bills victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday — the Bills’ first game since safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, and a game that incredibly began with a 96-yard kick-return touchdown for the Bills — quarterback Josh Allen could only describe the remarkable day as “spiritual.”

“I was just going around to my teammates saying, ‘God’s real.’ You can’t draw that one up, write that one up any better,” he said in his postgame press conference.

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Allen expanded on his thoughts this week when talking to NFL media personality Kyle Brandt.

“I said this in my press conference the other day, [there was] just kind of a spiritual awakening really for me, and I know for a lot of other people that maybe didn’t have the strongest belief, or wasn’t one of the biggest, strongest Christian followers,” Allen said on “Kyle Brandt’s Basement.” “To see what’s transpired here, it’s a crazy, crazy feeling. It’s something I’ve never felt before. It’s something I know a lot of my teammates have never felt before. You can’t really do anything but accept it and lean on your brothers and share that moment with them.

“That kickoff return was pretty crazy, too. So there’s a lot of things that went on and a lot of eye-opening situations that have stumbled upon us, or we’ve stumbled upon them. I think it’s been crazy, it’s been not fun, but at the same time it’s been very validating.”

Brandt then replayed Allen’s quote about God from the press conference, to which Allen responded, “I’ve never been struck like that before from a play, from an experience, from an emotion, it’s never hit me that way before. And look, I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t been the most devoted Christ-follower in my life, and I’ve had my different beliefs and thoughts and ideas and stuff like that, but something got hold of me there, and it was extremely powerful, [something] that I couldn’t deny.”

Allen then opened up a bit about his upbringing in Firebaugh, California, which sits between Fresno and the Bay Area. He said his family went to a Methodist church on many Sundays, but he wanted to leave as soon as possible so he could get home and watch football, specifically the San Francisco 49ers. He said he hasn’t been to church much since he’s become an adult.

“It’s been so long since I’ve actually been to church. I went this last offseason one or two times, but not as much as maybe I should,” he said. “But again, I think this conversation that we’re having right now, we’ve had all these conversations in our locker room. It’s been really cool to see how guys have been moved and touched by this whole instance and situation, and to see the country come together in support for Damar and maybe having those talks.

“Again, it doesn’t matter what you think and who you think in; I’m not going to judge based on any of that. But to hear some of these stories and just feelings from our guys, to be going through this situation, it’s been really cool to see that unfold in front of us. Again, I can’t chalk it down to anything else but a Higher Power. Yeah, I’m extremely moved. I don’t really have the words to explain it.”

Allen immediately took to Twitter to ask for prayer the night Hamlin went down, and said he’s been grateful for the leadership head coach Sean McDermott has shown during this tough time.

“I think he was the perfect man in that situation and he was placed there for a reason,” Allen told Brandt. “To have a coach that’s open and willing to share how he’s feeling and not afraid to show emotion — that’s something that he’s always told us. He wants us to be ourselves, he wants us to show our character and be the men we think we are. Again, I have so much respect for him and how he handled the whole situation.”

McDermott has long been an outspoken follower of Christ, and he continued to exhibit his faith in the aftermath of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest.

“I’m a Christian man to begin with, and I’m not afraid to say that,” the coach said in a press conference last week, adding, “Glory to God for His keeping Damar and his family in the palm of His hand over the last couple of days and His healing powers.”

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