NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent reiterated his claim that the league did not consider giving players five minutes to warm up following Damar Hamlin’s injury in the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game Monday night. evening.
During the ESPN broadcast, play-by-play announcer Joe Buck stated multiple times that the players had five minutes to warm up and be ready to play. He was even seen throwing soccer balls and running around the field before the game was temporarily suspended, ultimately leading to a postponement.
NFL reporters picked up on that notion and questioned Vincent about it, which he dismissed Tuesday, saying, «It never crossed our minds to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous.»
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On Wednesday, during a Zoom interview with reporters, Vincent doubled down.
«I just want to be clear: That suggestion alone was inappropriate. It was insensitive and frankly lacked both empathy and compassion for the situation of Damar, who was still in the woods and fighting for his life that day,» Vincent said via of NFL. The net.
NFL SLAMS EXECUTIVE NOTICE PLAYERS HAD 5 MINUTES TO WARM UP AFTER DAMAR HAMLIN INCIDENT: ‘THAT’S RIDICULOUS’
Vincent also noticed that he was in the ear of referee Shawn Smith, who was directing the game.
«My mic was wide open talking to Shawn, and at that point, I’m the central resource…At no point in my discussion in that hour-long time frame did I even, myself, reference (or) We gave directives about preparing the players to play.»
ESPN had no new comment on Vincent’s comments.
Vincent was reportedly fighting back tears as he discussed Hamlin’s situation as Bills security remains in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center but is showing signs of improvement after collapsing in the field after a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Hamlin initially got to his feet but fell, and medical personnel from both teams rushed onto the field to tend to him. The Bills confirmed reports that CPR was used and that his heartbeat needed to be restored.
«There was only one policy that mattered (Monday) night,» Vincent said. «And that was the first responders emergency action plan… That emergency action plan was executed perfectly.
«You gave our brother Damar another day of life, a chance to fight.»
On the call, reporters also asked how the league will move forward, and as of now, the plan is to continue playing scheduled games in week 18, including the Bills against the New England Patriots.
The Bengals-Ravens Week 18 matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m., for example.
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However, Vincent noted that Bills head coach Sean McDermott will help guide the league on what decision they will make regarding playing that final game.
The Bills-Bengals matchup had playoff implications, as Cincinnati and the Baltimore Ravens were still fighting for the AFC North title. And while the Bills clinched the AFC East crown, the conference’s top three seeds were also on the line.
Commissioner Roger Goodell will certainly go over the options once presented to him on how to address the postponed game and any other delays or cancellations that may occur.
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However, the top priority now is Hamlin’s health and whatever his family, teammates and anyone else affected by this tragic incident needs.