The NFL is denying that the league gave the Bills and Bengals a five-minute warmup period to resume play following Damar Hamlin’s cardiac incident on Monday night.
In the on-field aftermath of Hamlin’s incident, Joe Buck on the ESPN broadcast relayed information that teams were given a five-minute window to begin warming up so the Bengals-Bills “Monday Night Football” matchup could resume play.
In a conference call with media late Monday night into Tuesday morning, Troy Vincent, NFL VP of football operations, denied that the league ever put a window to restart the game.
Troy Vincent is not sure where the 5-minute warmup period came from: “There was no time period for the players to get warmed up. … It never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. That’s not a place we should ever be in.”
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 3, 2023
“There was no time period for the players to get warmed up. … It never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. That’s not a place we should ever be in,” Vincent told reporters.
MORE: ESPN’s Ryan Clark praised for ’empathy and humanity’ in coverage of Damar Hamlin collapse
ESPN issued a statement on Tuesday, saying the network avoided speculation regarding the situation and the game’s restart:
ESPN statement regarding the discussion about a five-minute warmup pic.twitter.com/jCCGH4Folw
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) January 3, 2023
In the minutes that followed Hamlin was placed in an ambulance, the broadcast showed Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor conferring with officials. McDermott signaled his team to return to the locker room, but it remains unclear if they were told about the window to resume play.
Buck stated at least four times times that the league told coaches and players they had five minutes to warm up to restart.
Joe Buck stated it on-air as fact four separate times so figuring out who is lying should be pretty straightforward. https://t.co/2GWQMGcsFn pic.twitter.com/RIphQ7zWLB
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 3, 2023
Both head coaches were not available to the media at the stadium on Monday night. The league’s conference call and statement surrounding Hamlin were the only points of information given in the aftermath.
MORE: Damar Hamlin’s charity has received millions of dollars in donations to GoFundMe page
Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and remains in critical condition as of Tuesday morning.
There is no word on when the game may or may not be rescheduled.
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