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January 03, 2023

Nick Sirianni on Bills' Damar Hamlin: 'I just hope and pray that Damar is OK'

The Eagles head coach, like the rest of the football world, was shaken after the Buffalo safety went into cardiac arrest and required CPR on the field Monday night

Nick Sirianni saw what happened to Damar Hamlin on Monday night and football took a backseat. 

The loss to the Saints, game-planning for the Giants, everything. 

"It puts everything in perspective," the Eagles' head coach told the WIP morning show on Tuesday. "You come back to work, you have a loss you're really upset about and you're thinking about that, and then something like that happens at night, it just puts everything in perspective of how these players put their bodies on the line."

Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, went into cardiac arrest midway through the first quarter of his team's Week 17 game at Cincinnati after making a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. 

The 24-year old initially got up from the play but collapsed within seconds. His heartbeat was restored on the field after CPR was administered by medical staff and he received oxygen as he was loaded into an ambulance around 16 minutes later, per ESPN

Hamlin was transported to the nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was sedated and listed in critical condition as of early Tuesday morning, per the Bills.

The Bills-Bengals game was postponed and the football world was shaken. 

As Buffalo's sideline surrounded Hamlin while he received care, numerous teammates were in clear distress. 

Bills receiver Stefon Diggs and Bengals coach Zac Taylor visited the UC Medical Center later that night, while fans from both teams gathered outside the campus in a show of support for Hamlin. 

Support quickly poured in from the rest of the league as well, which included Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox, who was teammates with Hamlin in college when they were both at Pitt. 

Additionally, Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation, which was running a toy drive for his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa. through GoFundMe, gained millions in donations overnight and surpassed the $4 million mark as of Tuesday afternoon

"It's a violent sport, as we know," Sirianni told WIP of Hamlin's incident. "I thought about everything – how you would lead the team in that matter and everything. Just so many things go through your mind there and at the end of the day, I just hope and pray that Damar is OK, that the people who are close to him are OK, and that he'll fight through this and get up from this." 

"Man, I hated to see anything like that," veteran defensive end Brandon Graham also told WIP Tuesday morning. "Never seen anything like that...My prayers go out to his family, the team, his guys that are close to him. There's so much emotion going on right now and No. 1 we just want to make sure that he's OK."

MORE: Hamlin's toy drive raises over $4 million after his cardiac arrest

The Eagles had their own horrifying incident Sunday against the Saints when defensive end Josh Sweat went down trying to make a tackle in the first quarter. He laid on his stomach, mostly motionless, for a while as he was tended to by doctors and trainers, and was eventually stretchered and carted off with teammates surrounding him. 

Sweat was transported to a local hospital with a neck injury but was released later that night and vowed to be back this season

Per multiple Eagles beat writers, the team opted to postpone their coordinators' press conferences on Tuesday out of respect for Hamlin's situation.

Hamlin's family, through his marketing representative Jordon Rooney, released the following statement at 11:44 a.m. ET Tuesday: 

The NFL also announced Tuesday that the Bills-Bengals game won't be resumed this week. No decision has been made on a resumption at a later date either. The Week 18 schedule, for now, remains in place, per the league's statement

Said the NFL Players Association in their initial statement: "The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar's health and well being."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, which was scheduled to reveal its modern-era player finalists for 2023 on Tuesday night, has also opted to postpone its announcement out of respect for Hamlin. 

On social media, the league, the players association, and all 32 teams have changed their profile pictures to Hamlin's No. 3 with the message "Pray for Damar" above it. 

Below is a roundup of prayers and well wishes from the Eagles:

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