Damar Hamlin Regaining Momentum With Bills

Former Pitt Panthers safety Damar Hamlin is laying the foundation for a strong 2024 season.
Nov 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) takes the field for action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) takes the field for action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH -- Former Pitt Panthers safety Damar Hamlin's football future looked dicey just one year ago but he's completed a remarkable comeback to the NFL and isn't done yet, according to Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott.

Per a report from Jon Scott of WGRZ, an NBC affiliate in Buffalo, New York, McDermott said he's been impressed with Hamlin, the former sixth-round pick who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, through three weeks of Organized Team Activities. Now with 34 games of NFL experience under his belt, Hamlin is putting that experience to good use.

Hamlin was in the middle of the best season of his career when he went into cardiac arrest during a marquee Monday Night Football matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 of the 2022 season. His life was saved by the quick action of medical personnel on the field that night and Hamlin ultimately made a full recovery.

Hamlin's 13-star, 91-tackle 2022 season was born mostly out of necessity. The Bills secondary was decimated by injuries and Hamlin stepped up to take on the leftover snaps to tremendous effect. But with stars like Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer back in the mix in 2023, Hamlin was pushed back down the depth chart. He played just 17 defensive snaps in 2023 after playing 846 the year before.

But now there are some holes in the Bills secondary left behind by the departures of Hyde, Poyer and others. Buffalo is now counting on a committee of defensive backs to fill in the gaps and Hamlin could easily find his way into the mix. His competiton consists of Taylor Rapp, an expereienced veteran, and Cole Bishop, a 2024 second round pick, plus backups Delaney Dee and Mike Edwards.

If Hamlin can continue to prove that he can regain his 2022 form, he'll give himself a fantastic chance of not just making the Bills roster for another season, but playing important snaps for a team that, despite some high-profile losses on both sides of the ball, still expects to compete for a deep playoff run in 2024.


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Stephen Thompson

STEPHEN THOMPSON

Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper.  He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press.  During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.  You can reach Stephen by email at stephenethompson00@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his latest work: