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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin reflects on long relationship with Damar Hamlin: ‘Got a lot of love for that young man’

The condition of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin Tuesday weighed heavily on his teammates, coaches and family – and on Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin spoke to reporters and said he’s known Hamlin since the defensive back was coming up in the youth football ranks. Hamlin grew up in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, located just outside Pittsburgh. He attended Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School and went to the University of Pittsburgh.

“I’ll say this about Damar Hamlin – it’s a really personal thing to me, being a Pittsburgher and that young man being a Pittsburgher, I’ve known that guy probably since he was about 12,” Tomlin said. “I’ve just got a lot of respect and love for him as a human being, his commitment to the pursuit of his goals and dreams of doing what he is right now, which is playing in the NFL. To watch him make personal decisions, and make that a realization, it’s just an honor to get to know young people like that.

“I’ve had an opportunity to express that to him whenever I see him. We’ve played Buffalo each of the last two seasons and he and I had a moment because it’s just cool to not only appreciate these guys in terms of where they are now but to know them since they were younger people and to watch their maturation, their development, to watch them earn what they’ve been chasing, it’s really a cool thing, and he’s an example of that.

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills reacts after a tackle for a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium on Oct. 9, 2022, in Orchard Park, New York.


“I’ve got a lot of love for that young man. I’ve lifted him and that organization up in prayer. I’ve reached out to Sean McDermott to lend whatever assistance I could. But I don’t have a lot to add other than that. I just respect the fact that you guys appreciate how personal it is for me, not only for me, but for all of us.”

The Bills offered an update on Hamlin’s status after he suffered cardiac arrest while trying to tackle Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. He was rushed to the hospital after needing his heartbeat to be restored on the field.

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills before the Dolphins game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

“Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center,” the organization said.

“We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far.”

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