Damar Hamlin is not expected to suit up when the Buffalo Bills open their season against the New York Jets on Monday night, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. It would have been his first regular-season game action since going into cardiac arrest.
Hamlin, a safety who had to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati in January, played in three exhibition games this summer. He made the Bills’ roster as a backup after many doubted he would be able to take the field again.
The decision not to activate him on Monday night, which was first reported by ESPN and NFL Network, was confirmed to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Bills did not announce their lineup ahead of the game.
Listed as the fourth safety on Buffalo’s depth chart, Hamlin is expected to be limited to mostly special teams roles barring injuries to starters Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde.
Hamlin, 25, was starting in place of an injured Hyde against the Bengals on Jan. 2 when his heart stopped as a result of commotio cordis, which is when a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat causes cardiac arrest. Doctors have assured Hamlin he can resume playing without any fear of setbacks or complications.