With Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin still in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital after his collapse during a game on Monday night, N.F.L. teams prepared to return to practice, somehow, for the last games of a regular season that suddenly felt stripped of joy.
The family of Hamlin, 24, a second-year player who suffered cardiac arrest during a nationally televised game against the Cincinnati Bengals, asked for prayers. The most recent update from the Bills on Hamlin’s condition was a statement on Tuesday afternoon that said he was still receiving care in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Week 18 will begin on Saturday, but players and coaches across the league were still reeling from Hamlin’s collapse and anxiously waiting for updates on his condition.
“I’m praying that you pull through bro,” Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, the player Hamlin tackled before he collapsed, wrote on Twitter hours after the game was suspended. “Keep fighting 3,” Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox posted, referring to his former teammate at the University of Pittsburgh by his jersey number. Some of the N.F.L.’s biggest stars, including Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Arizona defensive end J.J. Watt, openly pleaded for Hamlin to be OK.
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