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Colts’ Rodney Thomas II drove over 100 miles to be with friend Damar Hamlin, talked to him in ICU

Indianapolis Colts defensive back Rodney Thomas II played with Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, and when he heard about his former teammate’s medical emergency Monday night, he jumped into action.

Thomas talked to reporters on Wednesday and detailed his own reaction to the entire ordeal. He said he did not realize what happened to Hamlin until his dad called him on FaceTime. He said he caught emergency personnel loading Hamlin into the back of an ambulance while Bills and Bengals players wept on the field. He got into his car and made the 111-mile trek to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“I had a goal,” Thomas said, via the team’s website. “I knew where I was going, so I just got on the road and I just went. Laser-focused.”

Thomas and Hamlin are really close friends and talked right before the Bills played the Bengals. When he got to the ICU, Thomas said he held Hamlin’s hand and just talked to his friend again while he was sedated.

“I know he could hear me,” he said. “Even if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.”


Damar Hamlin, #3 of the Buffalo Bills, after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium on Sept. 19, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.

Thomas said the quick interaction set him straight and allowed him to breathe easier. He said it made the trip back home a lot better. He lauded Hamlin’s character and work ethic and believed Hamlin would eventually walk out of the hospital.

“No doubt in my mind,” Thomas said. “He’s a fighter. No other thought in my mind of him walking out under his own power.”

The Bills provided an update on Hamlin earlier Wednesday.

“Damar remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight,” the team said

Safety Rodney Thomas II, #25 of the Indianapolis Colts, warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 13, 2022 in Las Vegas.

“He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him.”

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