Tee Higgins speaks out for first time since directly involved in Damar Hamlin’s pre-cardiac arrest hit – and says ‘feels good to know’ Bills safety is doing ‘OK’ in ICU
- The 23-year-old Bengals receiver contacted Hamlin’s mother
- Higgins also said that it had ‘obviously’ been ‘difficult’ to deal with this week’s event
- ‘I’m in a good place right now,’ he added after Hamlin’s condition has improved
- Cincy’s Tyler Boyd revealed that he tried to talk to Hamlin after his crash
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Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins has spoken out for the first time since being hit by Bills safety Damar Hamlin, announcing that he is ‘in a good place right now’ after hearing from Hamlin’s mother about his recovery on Thursday .
Higgins, 23, was involved in the hit that came just before the 24-year-old Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during ESPN’s final regular-season broadcast of Monday Night Football at Paycor Stadium. Doctors have since said Hamlin is awake and has made ‘remarkable improvement’ in the last 24 hours.
‘Obviously it’s been hard, just because you know I had something to do with the play (and) whatnot,’ Higgins said in his first public comments since the suspension of the Bills-Bengals game. But ‘everyone makes me feel good again. I spoke to his mum and everything is fine, he’s doing well, so I’m in a good place now.’
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins has reached out to Damar Hamlin’s mother
The Bengals receiver, 23, collided with Hamlin before the latter went into cardiac arrest
As of Thursday night, Hamlin was awake and making “remarkable improvement” in the hospital
Higgins said Hamlin’s mother told him ‘she thinks about me and prays for me and things like that.
‘And suddenly he told me he was fine. And just all positive things,’ the third-year wideout said. ‘I mean, it feels good just knowing he’s OK, he’s getting better, and I’m feeling better.’
Higgins said it took him a beat or two after Monday night’s play to notice something was seriously wrong. Replays showed Hamlin standing up after chasing down Higgins and then seconds later going straight back.
‘Me being a football player, I was thinking he just flopped, one of my guys bumped him,’ Higgins said. ‘I just saw the fall. I looked again, and I saw what had happened, and I just turned my head and tried not to think about it. So I know it’s something crazy and something tragic.’
At first, Higgins thought Hamlin was ‘flopping’ after their collision in the opening quarter
Higgens knew ‘something tragic’ had happened after watching Hamlin stumble through the field again
Medical personnel had to resuscitate Hamlin’s heart twice using CPR techniques as well as defibrillation. An ambulance rolled onto the field, and he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
‘You know, it’s hard [to see],’ Higgins said. ‘Obviously, [I] wasn’t in a good place to play the rest of that game, so I’m kind of glad we chose not to play.’
Higgins’ teammate with the Bengals, Tyler Boyd, is a friend of Hamlin’s from the Pittsburgh area. Both played at the University of Pittsburgh. Boyd said he knew something was wrong when he tried to talk to Hamlin after the crash.
Bengal’s Tyler Boyd knew something was wrong when he tried to talk to Hamlin after the crash
‘I was trying to talk to him, and he wasn’t giving me anything,’ Boyd said. ‘And just see that, and then [I] just a little shocked. But I still didn’t get hit, you know, because it was a football play. But when everyone came, and it became serious.
‘It kind of touched me in a way to where, man, you just can’t take things for granted. You know, it’s like, no matter who our opponent is, it’s my brother, no matter what. You know, I grew up with him.’
Higgins said it was an emotional release to return to training on Wednesday and Thursday. The Bills also resumed practice, four days after Hamlin’s near death.
The Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens in the regular-season finale on Sunday.
‘It’s hard to forget about, but at the end of the day we are professional footballers,’ he said. ‘We have a job to do, and you just have to shift your focus and focus on the Ravens.’