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1-3-23 After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2023 6:11 am

1-3-23 After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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January 3, 2023 6:11 am

Continued thoughts and prayers for Bills safety Damar Hamlin | The NBA world reacts to Damar Hamlin | A piece of our conversation with Bills sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.


Good morning to you.

It's a Tuesday. It's January 3rd and if you are just waking up in places like Cincinnati or Buffalo, other parts around the country, maybe where you didn't stay up for the latest on DeMar Hamlin in the wake of Monday Night Football getting postponed, we want to give you the updates as we have them. The Bengals shared this statement about their second year safety, 24-year-old DeMar Hamlin. He suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment.

He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition. The NFL, of course, did postpone the game and as much as it's easy to criticize the league and its reaction time, I would just say in this particular case, it was unprecedented for the players, for the coaches, for the officials. You could see it on their faces. You could see it in their body language. When the game was temporarily suspended to wait for some type of a definitive ruling moving forward, the officials didn't know what to do. They were standing in the tunnel in a huddle waiting to hear like the rest of us. The NFL is a massive organization. They've got a lot of people to consult.

In the wake of Monday night and DeMar Hamlin's injury and his cardiac arrest, it seems like a no-brainer, right? But I would just say the league wanted to make sure that they were in communication with everybody that mattered and that was part of the equation. And because it was unprecedented for them, I'm okay with them taking a few extra minutes.

I'm not generally a ranter. You know, I usually take an irreverent approach to sports anyway. And in this case, the NFL did the right thing. And so it took a few extra minutes.

Okay. The teams were in the locker rooms. They seem to know even before we did, before the fans did there at Pecor Stadium because the equipment teams were starting to pack up on the sidelines.

I can understand in this world of immediate and instant reaction, how often do we criticize organizations, media outlets for jumping the gun, for not having a statement ready or for putting out information that's erroneous. Greg Adell was on the phone with his people there in Cincinnati. They were communicating with both coaches as well as the officials. We saw a video of that even after the game was suspended, which was about 9.18 Eastern time. The ambulance left the stadium a few minutes later. The game is officially postponed 35 minutes after that.

In my opinion, 35 minutes is not an eternity. It may have seemed like that. But the NFL was trying to get everybody on the same page and put out a statement. And no doubt, we're hoping for a positive update on DeMar's condition from the hospital.

So consider that element as well. Of course, the NFL was waiting for some information just like the rest of us were. That's all I cared about. It's all I cared about was hearing some update on his condition. I know many of you feel the same way. So in that case, think about the NFL's position, but also think about the teammates.

Think about the coaches. The Buffalo Bills ended up flying home and landed in western New York about 2.45 Eastern time. Their sideline reporter who was on the team plane, Sal Capaccio, was in his car, heard us talking about DeMar, sent me a text message and said, hey, I can call in if you want me on the air for a couple of minutes, which of course I very much appreciated. He actually thanked us for allowing him to talk about it for a little bit because he was shaken.

As was Mike Petralia, who joined us from Cincinnati in the first hour of the show. We've trimmed those conversations a little bit so that we can present to you some of the important stuff. It's unprecedented.

It's uncharted territory. And even though at times we as members of the sports broadcasting community can come across as more clowns and ranchers and we're big on our opinions and our predictions. This type of event, it is emotionally draining for us, too. And by us, I mean the reporters on site. So for Mike and Sal to both volunteer to share what they knew, to give us their perspectives and their insights is a big deal to me.

And I appreciate them doing it. So we'll hear from Mike here coming up in moments and then Sal about 30 minutes from now. Again, Tamar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest. So this was not a hit to the head, a blow to the shoulders or the neck. We see those.

I want to say on a regular basis, but it's something that we see multiple times during the year. And instantly that's where my mind went because of how he staggered backward and fell to the field, fell to the turf. He initially had stood up following the tackle on T Higgins.

Still, though. I thought this is a scary moment. Hope they get out there right away. I assumed that they would have to put him in concussion protocol and then you start to see the cameras on the faces of the athletes and the coaches.

And this is different. They deal with head injuries, they deal with concussion protocols. There are dozens of players from every team that end up in concussion protocol over the course of a season.

And I'm not saying that isn't scary, only that it's a little more common. These guys are conditioned now that this is a part of it. But to see tears running down the faces of the Bills defense.

Stevon Diggs. Crying himself, Josh Allen in total shock and really terrified for his teammate. He's got his mouth covered for a good two, three minutes and his eyes are turning red. Sean McDermott is walking up and down the sidelines initially talking to no one except for God. So he's clearly praying.

You could see that with multiple athletes and coaches speaking out loud, but not to another human. And then the Bills get out and they surround DeMar and the medical team that's working on him. And what we now know is that CPR was administered. His heartbeat was restored. He was receiving oxygen there on the field. They tried to lift him on the stretcher and put him into the ambulance. The first time, for whatever reason, they backed off and they put him on the field again.

So he's still on the backboard. They laid him back down on the field. Until they decided it was safe to be able to put him in the ambulance. And you'll hear this from Sal coming up when we replay part of that conversation, but his parents, thankfully, were in the stadium and were able to go to the hospital with him in the ambulance.

And man, that is a miracle in and of itself. I don't know if they travel to every game, but this wasn't a home game. And for them to be there, for his mom to make her way down to the lowest level, the lowest seating area, she was just beyond the wall above the Bills' sideline. They were able to communicate with her and bring her down into the stadium so that she could get in the ambulance.

And his dad was able to go to the hospital as well. And so that's the latest. That's what we know. The game was postponed, not canceled. But at this point, according to reporters, according to reports, football is the furthest thing from the minds of the NFL.

They'll deal with it at some point. It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. News travels so fast because of social media, because of the Internet. Obviously text messages and people communicating with one another.

You had multiple NBA athletes coming off the court and instantly talking about DeMar. It seems like every football player in the NFL was using his social media platform to ask for prayers. And I've retweeted some of what I've seen. I'm sure for those of you who are on Twitter and Facebook, you've been monitoring as well. But one thing that you'll start to see more of on this Tuesday morning.

And I've been posting updates on my Twitter, A Law Radio. DeMar has a foundation called the Chasing M's Foundation. And as I've done a little more research, I found out that they provide toys and other supplies for kiddos in both the Buffalo and Pittsburgh area. So he played his college ball at Pitt. He was a sixth round draft pick in 2021 to the Bills. And he was pressed into starting duty because of an injury earlier in the year to Micah Hyde. And so he's been on the field. He's been racking up tackles. He's part of the Pro Bowl conversation.

He's having the time of his life. And we found this soundbite on social media. It was part of an interview that DeMar Hamlin did with MSG, which is a statewide network in New York. And he was talking about what it means to him to be part of the NFL. Like I can't even describe it, but I cherish it every second that I can, you know, every second of every day.

We just had our prayer, our DB prayer we do every Wednesday outside. He was next to me and I just grabbed his hand a little bit harder just because, you know, you never know when like the last day could be that you getting to experience something like this, you know. So I'm just I'm cherishing it every moment I can.

I am not going to listen to that as foreshadowing. I'm going to believe that at 24 years old, this world class athlete is going to recover. And he's getting the best medical care and medical attention.

But it does hit home, right? To hear DeMar say that you never know when the next snap or the next game the next day could be your last playing this game that he loves. Also with Sal, I asked him a little bit about DeMar only because I don't know DeMar personally, have not had the chance to cross paths with him at this point. But it was good to hear his insights and a couple of stories about DeMar.

So we'll bring that back for you in a few minutes here on After Hours, CBS Sports Radio. There was a GoFundMe page that was started in December of 2020, so about two years old. I'm not even sure that DeMar was still using this to raise money for his Chasing Ems Foundation because the page was established back in December of 2020. And it refers to a toy drive that would take place on a specific date in December 2020 at a specific location in McKees Rocks, PA, which is where he's from. And the goal was to raise $2,500 and provide toys and Christmas gifts for children in the wake of the worst of the pandemic.

I mean, think about where we were two years ago. That was the goal of his community toy drive. The page is still up, and as fans were finding it in the wake of his injury, in the wake of him receiving CPR and then going to the hospital in Cincinnati, his page has been inundated by donations. Again, I don't even know if this is still a main avenue in which he collects donations, but at some point, he and his family are going to realize that hundreds of thousands of people have found this GoFundMe page.

And I've been delivering the updates, but I just want to give you the latest. For those of you who are waking up now at almost 5 of 10 in Buffalo and Cincinnati and other Eastern Time Zone cities, 123,000 plus donations now pushing the money raised to $3.16 million. His goal was $2,500 two years ago.

$3.16 million. I read a little bit. He actually wrote a note on the front of the GoFundMe page, and I read a little bit of it earlier.

I'll just read a couple of lines from it again because you kind of get some insight into who he is as a man and what his heart is all about. As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I came from, and I'm committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me. This campaign gives you the chance to contribute to our first initiative and positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic. And there is a spot you can go and you can look at his page. The link is all over social media now, but his name is listed as the organizer. There's contact information to reach out to DeMar Hamlin. And there is a spot where people can offer words of support like that's literally the title of this section, words of support. And as we've read it, we've seen comments from fans, not just all over the United States, but north of the border in Canada and now internationally from almost every NFL fan base.

I've been reading them as we're going through the show. The latest from Syracuse, New York, and an Eagles fan. Another one comes from a proud member of Bill's Mafia. Prayers to the family, a fellow Yinser referring to Pittsburgh.

Steelers fans praying for a speedy recovery to DeMar thinking of the Bills. Houdet Nation. And as we go through, I saw posts from Alaska. Posts from the UK. Posts from Saints Nation. Lots of people offering their support, their prayers. Germany.

This is international now. Steeler and Patriot Nation. That's a combination. At some point, his family is going to realize this and they're going to be blown away. As in overwhelmed. And every time I refresh the page, there's more money and there are more people who are showing up to make a difference. And I understand it. As human beings, we want to do something. We want to spring to action. We want to respond. And really, right now, there's not a whole lot we can do. Thankfully, we got one update from the Bills. About three and a half hours ago, but that's pretty much it. And it's hard to not know.

I think the waiting and the silence is probably the scariest. So I know I talked through it, but we'll hear from Mike Petralia and then also Sal Capaccio. Just their insights because they were there at the stadium hours ago when Damar Hamlin needed CPR on the field. And the game was ultimately postponed. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio.

You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. Mitchell out front against Caruso. Gets by Caruso. Scores! Donovan Mitchell with a new career high. 48 for Donovan. Let's get two or three. Mitchell three.

Good! Top of the three-pointer. Donovan Mitchell.

Bullseye. Double nickels for Mitchell. Sitting on 55 points.

Mitchell left wing. Three. Good! 66. 66 for Donovan Mitchell. 140. 130. Look at Donovan Mitchell's grin. Mitchell. Line right.

You'll hear the roar. 70 points. Let that sink in.

70 points for Donovan Mitchell tonight. Prayers up for the bill of safety, man. I hadn't heard about it. I didn't see it, but I wish him and his family were praying for him. All of us in the locker room. Kevin Love actually hit me on it and made sure we all want to, from the Cavalier organization, we want to wish the best and pray for everything that goes well.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Donovan Mitchell set a Cleveland scoring record with 71 points on Monday night. The most by any player in the NBA in 17 years, going back to Kobe Bryant, who had the 81 against Toronto in January of 2006. And afterwards, Donovan said in his postgame press conference, Kevin Love made sure I knew what happened to DeMar Hanlon, to the bill of safety, want to let everyone know we're praying for him. We're thinking of him. News travels fast in the sports world, and Donovan wasn't the only NBA player to mention DeMar and to start his press conference with the fact that they were praying for DeMar and hoping for the best. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio, the call there on Cavaliers radio. Our friend Mike Petralia, who has the Jungle Roar podcast for the Bengals, had already agreed to join us on the show even before the game kicked off. Certainly our conversation took a very different tone. I appreciate that he followed through and that he did join us in the first hour. He was emotionally exhausted. You could hear it in his voice.

I've known Mike for 20 years, so this was a different kind of interview. But he wanted to offer his perspective and his insight, and he was there at the stadium as the players had gone back to their locker rooms and were waiting for some type of a definitive word from the NFL. So I asked him, what did he see in the wake of the players heading back to their locker rooms? So we, as a media contingent covering the Bengals, were hanging out right outside the Bengals' locker room, and we were attempting to go down to the media interview room. Not the media workroom, but the media interview room in anticipation of some type of announcement from someone as to what was going on. That never occurred, and I think the decision was a good one because I think it was such a sensitive, taut situation that Troy Vinson alluded to several times in his conference call, motions were high, that once it was determined that there was going to be no media availability, all we could do is sit back and watch Joe Burrow, Ted Karras, Sam Hubbard, Joe Mixon, four of the Bengals game captains that I saw make their way down to the Bills' locker room and offer sympathy and support.

What else can you do in a situation like that? And that's what the Bengals were able to do. And that was my vantage point throughout the 45-minute period between 9, 15 and 10 o'clock. In the stadium, when he was out there on the field and the players had surrounded him, your perspective, where you were, and what it sounded like inside the stadium as people were waiting, really kind of holding their breath. Well, it's interesting you say that, Amy, because there was silence, as there usually is in a serious injury situation in the NFL. That is sadly not unusual because it's a violent sport, but usually you see the thumbs up or you see some type of indication that he's going to be okay and players get back to their respective sidelines after collecting themselves. You know, their thoughts are with their injured teammate in the locker room.

That wasn't the case. Once he was on the field receiving CPR and it was evident to a lot of the players what was going on, that this was a life-saving measure being taken by first responders and emergency personnel on the field, it had a whole different tone. And then when he was loaded into the ambulance, there was the cheer of support from the fans in the stadium. And that is obviously something you hear all the time in different stadiums around different sports. And when that happens, you cheer for the athlete who is needing, you know, critical medical attention. But once that happened, it was obvious that Sean Smith, the referee, and Sean McDermott of the Bills and Zach Taylor, when they got together, the game was not going to resume. And then there was a stunned silence. You could hear a pin drop in Pecor Stadium tonight and it was unlike any environment I have ever been in because I think I'd say 80 to 85 percent of the people sensed what was going on. The excitement, the adrenaline, all of the anticipation for this game and it comes to a grinding halt.

So as you point out, it was from one extreme to the other. So that's one thing that really struck me. We see teams rally around an injured player and the medical staff out there on the field. We even see ambulances periodically on a field. But what I think really indicated to me that this was something extreme, the facial expressions and the looks on the faces of not just the Bills but also the Bengals who very quickly realized this was different.

Very much so, Amy. And I'll tell you another thing. It really struck me when the teams went to the locker room. Because I said to a couple of my colleagues sitting around me in the press box at Pecor, I said, they're not coming back out. There is no way after seeing what they just saw that they're going to be able to play and resume play in this game tonight. And essentially Troy Vincent confirmed that on the conference call that it was a very emotional, raw, very difficult situation emotionally for players to handle and coaches to handle. Because the league really had not ever seen anything like this on this scale before.

And when you hear that kind of language and verbiage from a former player like Troy Vincent, I don't take those words lightly. I think the league was shuttered at what they were watching on TV. And they put into place an emergency action plan. They administered it I think the best way they could. And they made the best decision that they possibly could. And that was to postpone the game and consider the life of a fellow NFL player and put that at the top of the list in terms of priority. Mike Petralia at Trags on Twitter did follow through and called into the show a completely different tone and perspective. And he was emotional. I know him.

He takes his job very seriously. This is something that was completely unexpected, obviously, and unprecedented. And the number of NFL players or veterans that I've heard or seen express that they've never seen anything like this before. I mean, we've talked to former players here on the show and I've got some who are friends of mine. I've asked them, have you ever seen anything like this?

No. And so I think in the kind of the wake of that, maybe understanding that the NFL was also in an unprecedented situation and wasn't considering going back to football. We heard that from Troy Vincent. That whole five minutes to warm up and then get back on the field was nonsense. He called it ridiculous. We were never going to go back to football.

Mike says the same thing. It's fairly obvious that these teams, the coaches, the officials, they were just waiting for the official word from the NFL. But they were not planning on going back out on the field either. And it's one of those situations, one of those nights when the game didn't matter.

A man's life hung in the balance, still hangs in the balance this morning. So who cares about scores or playoff seating in that moment? The league did the right thing. The teams handled it as best they can to try to take care of their guys.

The Bills are back home in western New York. They landed about 2.45 Eastern Time. And when they did, when sideline reporter Sal Cappaccio got off the plane, he sent me a text and said, hey, I can come on and talk if you want for a couple of minutes.

And he did. So you'll hear his perspective after the break. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio.

You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. Before I answer that question, I just wanted to send my condolences to Mr. Hammond of the Buffalo Bills, his family, his teammates in the city of Buffalo. As athletes, sometimes the game can overshadow us as individuals or people. And just on behalf of the Warriors' annexation, we wish him the best, keeping him in our prayers and hoping for the best possible outcome and just a tremendous person. And it's bigger than sports.

Prayer's out for him. Boy, that's tough. It's tough when you see that in sports or in anything.

So that's a hard one. This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. At some point, maybe you'll come across some of the highlights from the NBA on Monday night. And I only say that to point out that we had these incredible individual performances from Donovan Mitchell with his 71. Klay Thompson had 54, I believe, and the Warriors had a stunning win in double overtime. We also saw Kyrie Irving was on fire early as the Nets extended their win streak. All these games that were taking place in the NBA and yet really to a man who spoke at the microphone following their own games. They were starting with prayers for DeMar Hamlin.

And so news travels fast. But also these professional athletes, they understand that they're out there putting their bodies, their heads to be sure, but also the rest of their bodies on the line and that they're always a moment, a misstep, a hit. In the case of football, a tackle away from a very serious injury, which is why you saw the Bills and Bengals coming together the way that they did to form a ring around DeMar Hamlin as he was receiving not just oxygen, but life saving measures. His heart had to be restarted on the field.

It was. And then he was taken to the UC Medical Center after suffering a cardiac arrest. That was the update we received from the Bills as they were getting on the team plane, or maybe they were already sitting on the team plane.

They arrived back in western New York at approximately 2.45 Eastern Time. And our friend Sal Cappaccio, who does the sidelines for the Bills radio network, was listening to us on our Buffalo affiliate WGR AM 550. And he sent me a text and said, hey, I'm in the car.

I will call in for a couple of minutes if you want. And so, of course, we did want to hear his perspective. Like Mike Petralia, who was in Cincinnati, Sal was understandably emotional as well and actually thanked us for allowing him the chance to speak for a couple of minutes. He had just gotten off the team plane. And so I asked him without giving us anything that would break confidence with the players or certainly violate his confidentiality as a reporter.

What was it like on the team plane? Just quiet, just somber. You know, just people just not – you didn't hear much. But, you know, it's late. It's been a long night. Obviously everybody's, you know, concerned about DeMar. But more than anything, I mean, you know, I think people – and I will tell you, though, that a lot of times it's like that anyway when it's just quiet and people try to get work done or sleep or something, especially after that game.

But, you know, it was definitely you could feel that, you know, it was weighing on everyone. I would just say it that way. He's a second-year player. He's just 24 years old, Sal. What kind of a young man is he? What kind of a guy is he? So funny.

I was thinking about all that on the way back tonight. And I have two funny stories about DeMar that will kind of give you some insight on that. Number one, you know, DeMar, he took over, really, for Micah Hyde when Micah got hurt. And he's been the starting for Micah Hyde ever since. And I remember one of these – sorry, one of the games several weeks ago, and he had a nice game and the Bills won. And I always do an on-field interview after the game.

I find somebody to talk to. And I usually – Josh goes and does with CBS or one of the receivers or something like that. So I'll find somebody just, like, had a nice game and I ran up to DeMar.

And this has never happened because, you know, he hasn't played all that much. And I said, DeMar, DeMar, I said, do post-game interview. And he kind of looked at me like I had three heads. Like, he goes, no, no. I mean, he was like, he wasn't even – he didn't want to talk. And I said, DeMar, you'd be literally the only person who's ever said no to me in this situation.

He goes, oh, okay, I'll do it then. He was all business, right? He didn't want to talk to anybody on the radio about the football game. He just wanted to get in the locker room and celebrate, right?

So that was funny. And I remember then also the week they played the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Mike Tomlin, in his press conference leading up, made a reference to DeMar Hamlin and said, he's a – whatever the area code is in Pittsburgh, I don't know off the top of my head. But he said he's a, you know, that kid, whatever, 212 or whatever it is, area code. He said he's a Pittsburgh kid, basically. And he talked about him.

So I went and I saw DeMar in the locker room, like, a day later. And I said, did you hear Tomlin talk about you? And he said, yeah. He says, you just got a lot of respect for him. And he lit up for the fact that another head coach had something like that to say in his press conference to know about him and to mention him in his lead up to the game.

And that was cool. DeMar's just a really, really good person, you know? And you can't say that enough. You've talked about the foundation that he has.

He's in his second year. He's found a way to do what a lot of these guys do in Buffalo, which is they set up these foundations. They have charitable causes. And I always tell everybody, I mean, as you know, we're not New York or Chicago or L.A. You know, what separates, I think, this team and this organization, these players from a lot of other players. And I know they do it in other cities, but almost like every one of these guys has something like that, that they connect to this city. That's what it's about. It's about connecting with these players and connecting with the organization. And that's what DeMar did already in his second year. And he was already doing the toys and things like that for the kids.

And you've seen the videos, you see the donations pouring in. But I'll tell you, he's all business. Like I said, when you talk to him in the locker room about football, he's all about ball. And he takes his craft seriously. He knows the situation he's in, filling in for Mike to hide what this season means to the Buffalo Bills. And he goes out there and works his butt off every single day. Just a very approachable young man. I think because he's all about business and things like that, you know that when you talk to him, he wants to talk football. But then you see the other side of him.

You see those videos and you see him doing the things he does for his charitable causes and things like that. But it was just so emotional tonight. I shared on Twitter that his mom was down by the wall when he was on the field. She came down. I was on the sidelines there. And I saw a woman wearing a blue number three jersey.

And she said to security, she wanted to come down and be by her son. It's my son on the field. And that just really hit me. I mean, I have a nine-year-old.

He doesn't play sports. I grew up playing football. My mom was involved in my life. And we've all been around. I coached high school football.

I know what it means to have a parent that is concerned like that. And now you're here in the ultimate arena here in Monday Night Football in this situation where this was happening. And I don't even think by that time we all knew the severity of it. But I remember that happening.

And the way that the stadium is constructed at Payco Stadium is you couldn't get right down on the field. So there was a security guard there and then the Bills team chaplain was walking over. In fact, if I remember correctly now, I think back, Dane Jackson. Dane actually played with DeMar at Pitt.

And he's one of his teammates here in Buffalo. He got the attention of the Bills team chaplain, pointed out DeMar's mom. Chaplain went over there, talked, and with security, they got his mom to get to an area where she could come down. And her and his dad joined the ambulance when it came off.

I hate to say this, but it's true. We've seen players, even this season, kind of stagger backward and fall over. And generally, your brain jumps to some type of a head injury or a hit to the head. At what point did you realize that this was something serious and different? So when the play was over, like you said, it was kind of a different injury. He got up. And I didn't know who it was, but I did see. I specifically saw him fall. And when I saw him fall, he fell backward motionless.

And I got concerned right away. Now, that's part of my job as a sideline reporter is to literally, after every play, just kind of scan to see if there's anybody who's getting up slowly, something like that. Well, I saw him fall. We didn't know who it was on the broadcast. We didn't know who it was initially. Because I think Jordan Poyer was there making the tackle. And someone had said that Poyer was there, but he got up.

And then we couldn't tell. So that's what I saw. But then my next thing that I saw was there were Cincinnati Bengals players immediately calling for someone to come off the sideline.

When you see that, and you've been around enough, you know that when they know that quickly there's something wrong, there's something very wrong. So as soon as that happened, my thought was initially, of course, a neck injury, right? We saw that happen with, speaking of Dane Jackson, that happened to him on Monday night against the Tennessee Titans owner this year, do you remember? And he went off in an ambulance. And right away, bam, you see people calling for people. So that was what I saw. I saw him fall backward, motionless, hit the ground, and he just wasn't moving. And Bengals players were calling for medical personnel to come out on the field. And what really struck me, when I knew, the time, Amy, that I knew that was the most serious something I've never seen before, Bill's players went out on the field and the staff, everybody, every single person on the sidelines, went out on the field and formed a huge circle with their backs to DeMar and their fronts to the fans so that no one could see what was happening. And that's when I knew something severe was going on in that area. And then, you know, were they performing CPR?

That's what you think. And then, sure enough, that's what was happening. Sal Cappaccio, Bill's sideline reporter, who sent me a text when he got off the team plane in western New York.

There is more to that conversation, but I wanted to gauge his perspective. Every stadium's different, and so when he says he didn't even realize who it was initially, and also that it's his job to scan the field and make sure everybody gets up, DeMar Hamlin did initially get up after administering the tackle on T. Higgins. And then, when he was trying to stand upright and kind of move, he fell backward, nearly taking out a bangle with him. And right away, there were guys who were surrounding him and calling for medical personnel, as you hear with Sal. So scary moments, and as much as it's easy to pile on the NFL, and it took too long, and what was happening, why weren't they calling the game? Think about the thousands and thousands of people that are in the stadium, as well as them wanting to make sure that they have put together a statement, potentially waiting for an update, and hoping that they were going to get some positive news from the hospital. But Roger Goodell was on the phone with the ops manager who was there on site in Cincinnati, and according to the reports, she was passing the phone back and forth between Sean McDermott and Zach Taylor, who, there are multiple videos of the two of them underneath the stadium. We also know that the Bengals captains left their locker room and went to the Bills locker room, just to check on the Bills and how they were doing. And then, ultimately, Stevon Diggs, as well as other members of the Bills front office staff, the coaching staff, they went to the hospital. Stevon apparently wasn't going to be allowed in and said, I have to be with my teammate, and so he kind of forced his way into the hospital. They allowed him in, and then what Sal told us is that everybody went back to Buffalo on the plane, except for maybe Brandon Bean. He wasn't sure if the GM had stayed behind, but all the players were on the plane. Football becomes secondary, really doesn't matter in the wake of a scary moment like this one. Ultimately, though, the NFL will have to decide what to do about this game.

It does have implications when it comes to seeding, when it comes to playoff standing and that top seed, but at least on this Tuesday morning, the numbers that matter more to me are the ones that are continuing to pile up on the GoFundMe page for DeMar Hamlin. And even as we get off the air here, we've been tracking this throughout the night. I'm hitting the refresh button so I can give you the latest. The Chasing M's Foundation GoFundMe page for a community toy drive that was started back in December of 2020. $3.185 million raised. Donations now at $124,000. From all over football fans, way to go. It's after hours, CBS Sports Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 08:19:27 / 2023-01-03 08:34:46 / 15

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