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'A strong brotherhood': Browns band together in support of Bills' S Damar Hamlin following medical emergency

Bills Patriots Football
Posted at 2:43 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 19:04:19-05

BEREA, Ohio — Amid the tragic incident during Monday night's Buffalo Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals that was suspended after Bills Safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field an outpouring of support has been sent out to Hamlin and his loved one's, including from fellow AFC players right here on the Cleveland Browns.

The conversation, somber. A fellow player in the hospital fighting for his life after requiring an AED and CPR on the field after a play is not something anyone ever expects to see but a reality of the sport itself.

Cornerback Greg Newsome II understands that now more than ever.

"Family group chats, things like that, we definitely talked about it, because, like you said, that could have been me, it could have been anybody in here. Things like that just make you think about how easy it is for, one play away, for something like that to happen," Newsome said.

Running back Nick Chubb noted the resources the Browns have to address difficult subjects like the Hamlin situation.

"We have a lot of people around here who we can go and talk to. No one's afraid to have that talk with any of us, so I know if I have any questions I can go to anyone around here and talk to," Chubb said.

Conversations surrounding Hamlin have been prominent throughout the Browns locker room and between the players and their families—most of the talks centralized around prayers and well wishes for Hamlin.

"I've been praying for his family and him as well. I’m just speechless. All we can do is just pray, do whatever we can do to help and just pray," said tight end David Njoku. "You never think things like this will happen until it happens...I just hope that everything will be okay."

While players on the Browns and around the league send their prayers to Hamlin, many around the league are doing something more as well—donating to Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation, which had set up a GoFundMe account for a Community Toy Drive this holiday season. The drive had set a goal of $2,500. After Hamlin's medical incident, the donations poured in and as of Wednesday the donations have surpassed $6 million.

"It just goes to show that people are caring when the time is needed. I think I saw somewhere that the goal was to go like 2,500 and be over 6 million, that makes my heart warm man and it makes me very happy that people are trying to do whatever they can to help," Njoku said.

The outpouring of financial and emotional support across the league highlights that even though football is a highly competitive—and at many times violent—sport, there's a connection that every player shares with each other. Rivalry, opposition, team colors aside—these players have something in common that will bond them for life, even if they've never met.

"I feel like just league wide, it's just a respect that we all have for each other. At the end of the day, we're all playing a game for the same reason, first because we love it and second is just to make something out of it so our family doesn't have to work ever again. So it just shows that, like I said, we all know the severity of the sport. We all do it for a reason, but at the end of the day we all respect each other for coming out there every single day, putting our bodies on the line," Newsome said. "The brotherhood here is amazing. Brotherhood around the league is amazing. Even during games, just chopping it up with guys that we're playing against. I feel like it just shows the NFL, we do have a strong brotherhood."

Njoku shared similar sentiments to Newsome, and added the point that many are beginning to take away from the incident involving Hamlin and the way the league has come together to support him, his family and his team.

"It means everything. Obviously this business is very competitive in all phases. You vs. you, you vs. the defense, you vs. the people in your position group, it's all just competition. When things like this happen and you see everybody reach a hand to help, it just means the world means," Njoku said. "It means that no matter what goes on in between the white lines, our best interest is our safety, our health, and that's a good step in the right direction."

The Browns plan to practice throughout the week and play despite the tragic incident that occurred in Cincinnati Monday, but while they try their best to do their jobs and focus on the task at hand they are still reserving time to keep pulling for Hamlin and a full recovery.

"Team meeting, the first thing we brought up was that situation and we're all praying for him, hope for the best. It's a tough situation for everyone. It's a lot to process, so for now we're just all praying for him," Chubb said. "It's a crazy situation just overall, it's tough to even talk about. So for now we’re just praying for him and hoping he comes out of it soon.”

As for Hamlin, the Bills reported promising news on Wednesday, sharing that while he remains in ICU in critical condition, he did show signs of improvement Tuesday and overnight.

Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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