Josh Allen and Sean McDermott address Damar Hamlin situation, upcoming game vs. Patriots

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Allen and McDermott address Hamlin situation, upcoming game vs. Pats originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and head coach Sean McDermott spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The joint press conference came on the heels of positive news on Hamlin's recovery. Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center announced that while Hamlin remains critically ill, he has made significant improvement and is "neurologically intact."

Belichick shares thoughtful perspective on Damar Hamlin situation

Allen opened by expressing his gratitude for McDermott's leadership and the Bills training staff's heroic actions.

"He was the perfect man in that situation to handle that type of situation," Allen said of McDermott. "I can't say enough about what he did, what he said to us in the locker room. Obviously, just a dire circumstance that nobody is expecting, nobody is ready for. You can never put yourself in that situation until it happens.

"I want to thank our training staff for going out there ... they saved his life. Being on that field -- you lose sleep. You hurt for your brother. A lot of shared grief. But getting positive updates eases so much of that pain and that tension that you feel. But Coach handled it as perfect as anybody could."

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McDermott echoed Allen's sentiments about the training staff. More specifically, Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who administered CPR on the field and likely saved Hamlin's life.

"The courage that it took, you talk about a real leader, a real hero in saving Damar's life. I just admire his strength," McDermott said."

While attempting to process such a traumatic event, the Bills must also prepare for Sunday's regular-season finale against the New England Patriots. Allen was asked what he expects the game to be like for him and his teammates.

"A little difficult to answer that question," he said. "I think for every person it's going to be a little different. I think putting the helmet back on today was a really good thing for our team and just to kind of go through that process. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say some people are going to be changed forever after being on the field and witnessing that and feeling those emotions."

The NFL reportedly hasn't ruled out postponing Sunday's Patriots-Bills matchup at Orchard Park. McDermott, however, wants to honor Hamlin and his family by taking the field.

“I feel strongly — as Mario, his (Damar Hamlin's) Dad, mentioned to us — this is what Damar would’ve wanted and wants," McDermott said. "And this is my opinion and my take on it, we owe that to Damar. We owe that to his family.”

Asked whether he believes the Bills are ready to play a football game despite the circumstances, Allen answered confidently.

"I do," he said. "That's what Damar's dad wants. We can't not honor his request. Guys are excited to get out there."

What kind of atmosphere do Allen and McDermott expect when they return to Highmark Stadium?

"A lot of 3 jerseys, lot of 3 signs. I'm sure it'll be surreal to be at home, last week of the season," Allen said. "There's still stuff we have to talk about as a team and get through."

McDermott added, "I think it's going to be very emotional for everyone in the stadium. I think it's going to be unlike anything I've seen before."

Patriots-Bills is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday. New England will clinch a playoff berth with a victory.