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NFL exec again refutes report players were given 5 minutes to warm up after Damar Hamlin incident

NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, reiterated his claim that the league did not consider giving players five minutes to warm up following Damar Hamlin’s injury in the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday night. 

During the ESPN broadcast, play-by-play announcer Joe Buck stated multiple times that players were given five minutes to warm up and be ready to play. They were even seen throwing footballs and running on the field before the game was temporarily suspended, which ultimately led to a postponement. 

NFL reporters caught that notion and questioned Vincent on it, which he dismissed on Tuesday, saying: “It never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous.”

On Wednesday during a Zoom interview with reporters, Vincent doubled down. 

“I just want to be clear: Just that suggestion alone was inappropriate. It was insensitive, and frankly it lacked both empathy and compassion for Damar’s situation — who was still in the woods and fighting for his life that day,” Vincent said via NFL Network.


Vincent also noted that he was in the ear of referee Shawn Smith, who was officiating the game. 

“My mic was completely open in talking to Shawn, and at that time, I’m the center resource… At no time in my discussion in that hour-long timeframe did we ever even — myself — reference (or) give any directives about getting players ready to play.”

ESPN had no new comment on Vincent’s remarks.

Vincent was reportedly fighting back tears while speaking on Hamlin’s situation, as the Bills safety remains in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, but is showing signs of improvement, after collapsing on the field following a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. 

Hamlin initially stood up but fell, and medical staff on both teams rushed out on the field to attend to him. The Bills confirmed the reports that said CPR was used and that his heartbeat needed to be restored. 

“There was only one policy that mattered (Monday) evening,” Vincent said. “And that was the emergency action plan by the first responders. … That emergency action plan was executed to perfection.

“You gave our brother Damar another day to live, a chance to fight.”

FILE - Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass.

On the call, reporters were also asking about how the league will move forward, and as of now, the plan is to still play the scheduled games in Week 18, including the Bills against the New England Patriots. 

The Bengals-Ravens Week 18 matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m. for instance. 


However, Vincent noted that Bills head coach Sean McDermott will help guide the league on what decision they make in regard to playing that final game. 

The Bills-Bengals matchup had playoff implications, as Cincinnati and the Baltimore Ravens were still battling for the AFC North title. And though the Bills secured the AFC East crown, the top three seeds in the conference were also up for grabs. 

Commissioner Roger Goodell will certainly go over options once presented with him on how to go about the postponed game and any other delays or cancelations that could be coming.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent attends the Super Bowl XLIX Football Operations Press Conference on January 29, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The top priority now, though, is the health of Hamlin and whatever his family, teammates and anyone else affected by this tragic incident needs. 

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