Damar Hamlin wears helmet for first time as full participant at Bills OTAs

Damar Hamlin continues to make progress in his hopeful return to game action for the Buffalo Bills, as he was spotted wearing a helmet for the first time at practice on Tuesday. 

Hamlin returned to the field in May, but he was limited to individual drills off to the side without wearing a helmet during the media portions of practice, as the Bills remained cautious. GM Brandon Beane added that he was wearing it – just not for the media to see. 

Either way, they’ve clearly seen what they needed to in terms of his progression with Hamlin out participating in team drills on Tuesday. 


Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) works out during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, May 23, 2023.  (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Beane told ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg that he’s “really proud” of Hamlin for reaching this step in his recovery since having a cardiac arrest in January during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

ESPN did add that Hamlin had a bit of an injury scare during the practice session, though, as he went up for a contested ball and was slow to get up. He was with trainers looking at his right arm/shoulder area, and he was seen throwing his helmet in frustration. 

However, that frustration was short-lived as he was back out on the field participating in drills with his teammates shortly after getting checked. 

Hamlin was a happy camper you could say, as the Bills posted pictures of him throwing up his now signature heart hands. 

Hamlin’s timeline is still up in the air, though, as head coach Sean McDermott and Beane haven’t laid out the plan. 

There’s still lots of time before the Bills’ first preseason game comes on the schedule, though training camp will start at the end of July. 

Damar Hamlin attens event

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin attends an event with lawmakers to introduce the Access to AEDs Act on March 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. Bills' safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game, helped introduce the bill that would improve students' access to defibrillators in public and private elementary and secondary schools. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Hamlin has come a long way since that fateful night in Cincinnati where he said “I died on national TV,” after trainers and medical staff saved his life by performing CPR on the field as everyone watching was stunned looking on from the stands and at home. 

But a horrible scene quickly turned into a story of hope and determination for Hamlin, who ran with all the support he was getting from inside and outside the NFL. 

His football career was in serious jeopardy, but now that he’s back on the field, we just might see Hamlin strapping his pads on and wearing his No. 3 for the Bills at some point this season. 

Damar Hamlin at OTA's

Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) works out during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, May 23, 2023.  (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)


The Bills will have their mandatory minicamp next week from June 13-15. 

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