Bengals coach Zac Taylor said today that there’s no precedent for what happened when Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night in Cincinnati, but that everyone there handled it as best as possible.
Taylor specifically said that he was impressed with Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who immediately recognized that this was bigger than a football game.
“When I got over there, the first thing he said was, ‘I need to be at the hospital with Damar. I shouldn’t be coaching this game,'” Taylor said. “He really showed who he was. All his focus was on Damar.”
Taylor said the Bengals have been very concerned about Hamlin from the moment he collapsed on the field.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar Hamlin and his family and his loved ones, and his teammates, the coaches, the entire Bills organization,” Taylor said at the outset of his press conference today. “We’ve always had great respect for them. I think that’s grown much deeper.”
Taylor said the composure of the medical response was striking.
“All the medical professionals that were involved, the Bills’ trainers, the Bills’ doctors, our trainers, our doctors, the paramedics, the emergency response team, I thought that they were on it, they were composed, it was obviously a complicated situation on the field that everybody was trying to process,” Taylor said.
Taylor also said the referee showed leadership in recognizing the gravity of the situation.
“The officials, Shawn Smith and his crew, I thought they did a tremendous job handling a situation in which there’s no rulebook, there’s no protocols for how to handle that,” Taylor said. “They really did a good job. Everyone that was on the field could feel the seriousness of the situation and they did a great job of stepping back, asking the Bills what they needed, asking us what we needed, giving us the space to process, I thought they did a tremendous job.”