The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills experienced an unprecedented situation Monday night.
In the first quarter at Paycor Stadium, Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field following a collision. Medical personnel administered CPR on Hamlin for roughly 10 minutes before the 24-year-old was taken away in an ambulance.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor spoke to the media Wednesday and provided an on-field perspective of those scary, uncertain moments.
"During those moments [while Hamlin was being tended to on the field], all anyone's hoping for is the best-case scenario with Damar," Taylor told reporters. "No one's processing whether this game will be played or delayed. That's not going through anyone's mind.
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"When the ambulance starts to pull away is really the first moment anyone gets to even think about anything. In that moment, I came together with Sean McDermott and the officials kind of led the way there, and it was determined just to take a few moments as teams just to process what happened and go to our sidelines. And just take a few moments to process cause no one had that chance. I look at Sean and those players, all they were doing was looking at their teammate, their brother and hoping for the best there. That's the only thing going through their mind."
Taylor then credited Bills head coach Sean McDermott for his leadership in a difficult spot and shared part of a conversation the two shared.
"The officials did a great job of coming over to me and saying, 'Hey, they're still trying to process this moment here. Coach McDermott and their team.' So instead of playing telephone on separate sidelines, the decision was made just to go over there and make sure we're all talking together," Taylor said.
"I won't disclose any of the private conversations Sean and I had except for this: When I got over there, the first thing he said was, 'I need to be at the hospital with Damar. I shouldn't be coaching this game.' In that moment, he really showed who he was -- that all his focus was just on Damar and being there for him and his family at the hospital.
"I really felt Sean McDermott led in that moment for his players. He was there for his players, he processed it the right way, which is incredibly difficult, and really helped us get to the solution that we needed to get to."
The game was temporarily suspended as both teams went to their respective locker room. After roughly an hour, the game was postponed.
Hamlin has been hospitalized at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center since Monday night. He remains sedated in the ICU and is listed in critical condition. The Bills announced Wednesday that Hamlin has been showing "signs of improvement."
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar Hamlin and his family and his loved ones, and his teammates, the coaches, the entire Bills organization,” Taylor said. “We’ve always had great respect for them. I think that’s grown much deeper.”