Jets head coach Robert Saleh shares thoughts on Damar Hamlin: 'It's a very hard situation'

Damar Hamlin
Damar Hamlin / Denny Medley - USA TODAY Sports

Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke on Wednesday about "very hard" Damar Hamlin situation, and reflected on the nature of the NFL as a result.

The Buffalo Bills safety suffered cardiac arrest during Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals after tackling wide receiver Tee Higgins and taking a hit to the chest.

After making the tackle, Hamlin got up before collapsing backwards. Hamlin's heartbeat was restored on the field after CPR was administered. He was then removed from the field via ambulance before being taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he remains sedated and in critical condition in the ICU

"It's an unfortunate tragedy. Just opened it up in the team room -- opened it up for the guys to speak," Saleh told reporters. "Obviously our doctors are in there if they had any questions for the docs, gave the doctors the forum to kind of speak on that, too.

"It's a very hard situation, as I'm sure it is in every building in the NFL right now. Just our thoughts and prayers to him. Praying for a speedy recovery."

Since Hamlin arrived at the hospital, his family and friends have been providing updates to reporters on the 24-year-old's condition.

On Wednesday morning, Jordon Rooney -- a family friend of Hamlin -- told Coley Harvey of ESPN that doctors got promising readings on Hamlin overnight, with Harvey tweeting that "progress appears to be made."

On Tuesday, Hamlin -- who had been on 100 percent oxygen since arriving at the hospital -- had his reliance on oxygen brought down to 50 percent.

Asked if what happened to Hamlin led Saleh to pause and think about the nature of the sport and the risks the players take, the head coach gave a very thoughtful answer.

"I think when you're in the building, I don't think it ever leaves you on how -- when I've gotten up here and talked about how these young men deserve everything they've got. They earn it all. They deserve to have as much as they're asking for. And they deserve whatever the NFL is willing to give.

"It's because we know what they do every day. We know how hard it is to play this game. And it's not just playing the game of football. It's all the preparation and how much their bodies hurt every day. ... I think it's a reminder, but I think it's a giant punch in the gut to everybody, especially outside NFL circles, who just watch it and lack the actual empathy to put themselves in the shoes of these football players, and what they go through on a daily basis."