Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin knows the thoughts and emotions he’s experienced over the past eight months aren’t going away. He practiced in pads Monday for the first time since collapsing on the field in Cincinnati during Monday Night Football, and afterward acknowledged the fear that came with making contact on a football field again.
What Hamlin emphasized over and over in his 22-minute press conference, though, was that his faith in God was allowing him to persevere and overcome the fear.
“My strength is rooted in my faith, and my faith is stronger than any fear,” he said. “That’s what I want to preach up here, and that’s the message I want to spread on to the world, that as long as your faith is stronger than your fear, you can get through anything. That’s what I’m living by right now.”
Hamlin told reporters he has a daily devotional book that is one of the things helping him process everything he’s gone through. His faith is playing a vital role as he tries to get mentally and physically reacclimated to the NFL.
“As much as the NFL is, you know, on schedule and camp starts this day, this is all God’s timing, you know what I mean? You’ll hear me say that a lot up here,” Hamlin said. “I’m trusting in Him and that’s my strength in all of this right now.”
In two different Instagram posts in the last week, Hamlin has declared that his faith is stronger than fear and given glory to God.
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On July 26, Hamlin posted video of him entering and leaving the practice field.
“My faith is stronger than any doubt, any panic or any fear,” he wrote in the caption. “When I’m down & feel defeated give me the strength to stand tall & keep pushing to carry out your mission. Cover me in all these moments God. Every breath I take is filled with your strength and your guidance. It’s not easy, but I know it will all be worth it.”
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On Tuesday, Hamlin turned in one of the highlights of the practice when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 1, 2023
During the offseason, Hamlin embarked on a CPR tour through his Chasing M’s Foundation, providing CPR training and donating AEDs (automated external defibrillators), the device that helped save his life on the field. He held events in Buffalo, Cincinnati and his hometown of Pittsburgh. Hamlin said Monday he is planning to do the same thing in other cities next summer.
As he begins his third NFL season and prepares for the Bills’ preseason opener on Aug. 12, Hamlin is viewing his traumatic experience as a challenge to overcome and an opportunity to impact lives.
“When in life do we get to encounter challenges like this and overcome things like this, you know? Not too many people get this level of overcoming something and being able to stand for so many good things, so to be able to be a chosen one and to be able to be the one to overcome something so big, it’s a blessed space,” he said. “It’s a bunch of opportunity in there as well if you choose to look at it that way.”
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