Damar Hamlin honored as NFL playoff picture takes shape

Josh Allen walks off the field after defeating the New England Patriots on Sunday. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

When asked where the Nyheim Hines’ opening kickoff touchdown ranks in Josh Allen’s football memories, the Bills quarterback said: “I can’t remember a play that touched me like that, I don’t think, in my life. So, it’s probably number one.”

“I was just told,” Allen continued, with tears welling in his eyes, “it’s been three years and three months since the last (Bills) kickoff return. Pretty cool.”

Allen’s hospitalized teammate Damar Hamlin, who the NFL world rallied around this week, wears No. 3. 

Hines’ opening kickoff return for a 96-yard touchdown was also the team’s first to open a game in 18 years. He told reporters after the game that the play “was way bigger than me.”

“I’m speechless,” Hines said. “I’m so thankful it was me to bring that juice, but it was way bigger than me, and that’s what I always thought about. And that was what I felt all day. That it was bigger than me, bigger than those 10 guys who did a great job blocking for me.” 

Another powerful moment from the game: Bills wide receiver John Brown gave Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington a game ball after his touchdown reception in the third quarter.

Brown caught a 42-yard pass from Josh Allen, putting the Bills ahead 28-17. The receiver found Kellington on the sideline and gave the ball to him.

Just seconds after Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest on Monday, medical personnel swarmed to his aid. The quick response has been widely credited for the player’s steps toward recovery.

Kellington has been praised by Bills head coach Sean McDermott for “saving Damar’s life.” He was the trainer who gave Hamlin CPR.

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