Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is reportedly still in critical condition after he suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
That game was postponed as players on both teams were devastated by the sight of Hamlin being administered CPR on the field. But Bills and Bengals players weren’t the only ones who were affected by the scene Monday. Players across the NFL watched the situation unfold on national television.
On Wednesday morning, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson joined NFL Network’s GMFB to talk about how he addressed the incident with his team.
“Obviously for me, Monday night, watching it, coaching for me went away and I was thinking about Damar and his family, and I was thinking about the players on both sides on that field that night with the Bills and the Bengals,” Pederson said. “And then my attention quickly turned to my team and how was I going to handle … how was I going to prepare our football team, and what was I going to say?
“I want my players to understand that we’re here for them. … I was just honest with them. I was just sharing from my heart. I went through a situation with my brother a year ago — even though it’s different — but just seeing the struggle, seeing the mental anguish that the players kind of go through. You saw it Monday night with both teams.
“One of the messages I had the other day too, I don’t want our guys to harbor any kind of feelings. I want them to speak. I want them to be open. Situations like this and incidents like this really hit everybody a little bit differently and I don’t want the guys to keep that in.
“Because we are preparing for a football game and it’s the hardest thing to transition from life and things that are out of our control to transitioning to a football game and trying to get the focus of the room back on that. I thought our guys did a great job of being able to handle that.”
Pederson also said that the Jaguars are providing players with resources like psychologists and ministers in the wake of the incident.