Much of the sports world, let alone the football one, has been affected after safety Damar Hamlin suffered from cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Carolina Panthers interim head coach addressed reporters for the first time today since the incident.
Along with crediting owner David Tepper and his wife Nicole for the organization’s efforts for player support and development, Wilks recounted how he found out about Hamlin on Monday.
“Thank God I didn’t personally see it,” Wilks said. “When I was leaving the office late that night, my assistant Jessica told me about it. And then once I got home, of course my wife was a little upset and she was filling me in about it.
“Just to see, at that point in time, the facial expressions on the players on the field, to see what was going on with Coach [Sean] McDermott and just trying to go through the process—it was definitely touching. And it makes you understand and realize how precious life is. We love this game that we play and coach, but nothing’s more precious than life itself.”
Wilks was also asked about the status of Panthers safety Kenny Robinson, a longtime friend of Hamlin’s. He said Robinson, who has been allowed to return home, will take as much time away as he needs.
“Again, they’ve known each other since middle school,” he said. “They’re in a group text every week—him and another guy they grew up with. He’s real close to him. And I wanted him to understand, as well as anybody else in that locker room, we care about you beyond the game of football. As much time that he needs, he’s gonna take.”
The latest update, as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, notes that Hamlin remains in the ICU under critical condition and has shown signs of improvement between yesterday and overnight.