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Titans Gather for Discussion, and Prayer, As Bills Safety Damar Hamlin Fights for His Life


NASHVILLE – The Titans gathered as a team on Tuesday, but on this morning, the primary focus wasn't on the upcoming opponent.

It was on Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest in Monday night's game against the Bengals.

The Titans gathered for discussion, and prayer.

"We talked about it as a team," Titans receiver Robert Woods. "But even as a human being – not even being an NFL player – watching it was really heartbreaking and sad, to see a player go out there and get injured like that. We all go out there and try and have fun and bring some entertainment to the fans.

"My heart goes out to him, his family and even (Bengals) receiver Tee Higgins. Prayers to the family."

Hamlin had his heartbeat restored on the field on Monday night, and he is currently in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital, the Bills said in a statement.

The scary scene played out during the nationally televised game, and it hit close to home for several Titans.

Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons revealed in the locker room today his uncle, former NFL defensive end Jason Hatcher, lost his 15-year-old son last month while he was playing football. Simmons said it was related to a heart condition.

"Just to see that, a close family member," Simmons said. "And then last night. … We just can't take this game for granted. We never know. We just get sidetracked sometimes of the real reason why we play this game and sometimes we can forget that. We're playing for each other, we're playing for our family and most of all we're playing for ourselves because that's all we've been doing our whole life. I'm sure (Hamlin), this is all he knew his whole life. You never know when your last snap may be. It's just one of the things you can't take for granted. I'm praying for him and his family."

Titans safety Kevin Byard said he was watching the game at home.

CPR was administered to Hamlin, 24, on the field for multiple minutes after he collapsed following his tackle of Higgins. Hamlin received oxygen, according to the ESPN broadcast, as he was placed in the ambulance and taken off the field and driven to the nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

"Nobody goes into a game thinking they can lose their life," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "My mom went into cardiac arrest when she passed away, so I understand the seriousness of the situation, him being in critical condition. He is fighting for his life literally.

"It is a tough deal, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, his loved ones."

Titans outside linebacker Rashad Weaver broke down in the locker room on Tuesday when he discussed Hamlin, his close friend and former college teammate at Pittsburgh.

Weaver came to Pittsburgh in the same recruiting class as Hamlin and left for the NFL the same year.

"That's a guy I talk to, whether it be on social media, Snapchat, text or anything, at least probably once a week," Weaver said of Hamlin. "Constantly just telling each other how we see each other doing our thing each week, playing. He has his own little clothing brand called "Chasing M's," it's about chasing your dreams, chasing millions. That's everybody's goal in life is reaching your dreams and getting millions and taking care of your family. I have my own brand, g2r, we're just always interact and tell each other to keep going."

Weaver then got emotional, even putting his head between his legs to try to hide his tears after being asked how tough the last 18 hours have been for him.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel reflected on his own children when talking about what he saw unfold on Monday night.

As the Titans prepare for Saturday's game vs the Jaguars, Hamlin and the Bills are on their minds.

"A difficult day obviously for the players and coaches and the NFL, and our fans," Vrabel said. "On behalf of the Titans organization, our players, and everybody involved, we want to send our deepest sympathies and concerns and our prayers to Damar, who by all accounts is fighting his tail off in Cincinnati, to his family, who watched that all unfold, to Damar's football family in Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

"Our thoughts to everyone involved. We send our condolences and just the respect we have for everybody involved. We wish nothing but the best for Damar."

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