Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shared some details of the conversation he had with Bills coach Sean McDermott on the football field during Monday night’s game.
Moments after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin left the field in an ambulance, Taylor said McDermott had only one thought on his mind.
“When I got there, the first thing he said was, ‘I need to be in the hospital for Damar, and I shouldn’t be coaching this game,'” Taylor revealed to reporters on Wednesday.
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Hamlin remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after cardiac arrest, but has shown signs of improvement, the Bills said in a statement Wednesday.
“He is expected to remain in intensive care while his healthcare team continues to monitor and treat him,” the team said.
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After Hamlin was taken out of the stadium in an ambulance and before the game was postponed, the refereeing team walked to the Bengals sideline while McDermott was still trying to figure out what happened.
A short time later, Taylor decided to move to the Buffalo sideline to be a part of the conversation between the officials and McDermott.
On Wednesday, Taylor praised McDermott and the Bills for their handling of the difficult situation.
“Seeing the way he handled his team deepened that respect for him and verified everything I always thought he was as a man,” Taylor said.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said all of his conversations with McDermott were solely about player welfare.
“My communication with the club and those players has been strictly to make sure they’re okay, to register,” Vincent said. “And being able to access the resources that are available to them. It’s hard, and the coach is still struggling.”
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Vincent and Taylor referenced the minutes after Hamlin left the field when it momentarily appeared play might continue, which has been widely debated since Monday.
Taylor said there was never any communication about play resuming. He also added that at the time no one was concentrating on whether the game was going to restart.
“So many things happened that I really can’t remember,” Taylor said. “My remembering process is that that’s really what played out. There was no drive for anything to happen.”
It’s unclear if the Bills-Bengals game will ever be rescheduled. The NFL said earlier this week that “play will not resume this week.” The focus remains on Hamlin’s well-being.
NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said a decision will be made in the coming days.
“But there are a lot of considerations and a lot of people we want to consult with, including the clubs involved, before the decision is final,” Miller said.
Taylor said his team is preparing to play the Week 18 game against the Ravens. The league confirmed that the game is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET in Cincinnati.
Taylor also added that soccer players know the inherent risks that come with the game.
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“This was a tough situation,” Taylor said. “My understanding based on the information we have is that there is a very small chance of that happening. The players who play football know that.”