Bills S Damar Hamlin flashing in offseason workouts with 'high level' play

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been one of the standouts of the team's offseason workouts thus far.
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

In a Buffalo Bills safety group that saw significant turnover and a handful of relatively high-profile additions in the 2024 NFL offseason, it’s an overlooked fan-favorite defensive back who is making an early impact.

Damar Hamlin flashed throughout the team’s voluntary OTA workouts in May, making several splash plays to re-enter the fray in what is still very much a wide-open safety competition. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott spoke about Hamlin to reporters ahead of Tuesday’s minicamp practice, praising his mindset and attention to detail.

“I think the last couple of weeks he’s been playing more consistent, playing at a high level,” McDermott said. “Very, very focused and getting himself into a really good spot with not only knowing the defense, but just getting back to playing detail-oriented and fast.”

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The Bills are currently attempting to fill not one, but two starting safety roles after the offseason departures of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, who combined for 202 starts in Orchard Park over the last seven seasons. Returning defender Taylor Rapp has seemingly already shored up one of the spots, with McDermott insinuating on Tuesday that the other starting role is still up for grabs.

Enter Hamlin, who himself has a bit of starting experience—the hard-hitting safety recorded 13 starts in place of the injured Hyde in the 2022 season, notching 91 tackles, two pass deflections, and one forced fumble. His season ended prematurely in a Week 17 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals; the safety suffered cardiac arrest on the field and was ushered to a local hospital, a tragic situation that resulted in the temporary stoppage and ultimate cancellation of the contest. Hamlin awoke several days after the incident occurred and was miraculously discharged from the hospital one week after his admittance, even appearing at the Bills’ Divisional Round playoff matchup with the Bengals.

He made a full recovery and remarkably played in the 2023 season, appearing in five regular season games in what was largely a depth and special teams role. With the health incident now over a year in the past and a starting spot now available, Hamlin is positioning himself well to make a run for the role he previously flashed in.  


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Kyle Silagyi

KYLE SILAGYI