Damar Hamlin attends first game since collapse

Bills and Bengals to face off in next round


NFL Wild Card Weekend wins set up the Bills and Bengals for a rematch

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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin attended Sunday's playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, his first game since he collapsed on the field earlier this month. 

The Bills posted a video on Twitter of Hamlin donning sunglasses, a hoodie and a puffer jacket as he was driven by security to the team's locker room. The video, captioned "Welcome home," also showed Hamlin's mother and younger brother heading into the locker room separately. 

Hamlin gave a locker room talk to his teammates ahead of the game, according to CBS Sports' Tracy Wolfson.  

Hamlin's visit to Highmark Stadium was his first public appearance since Jan. 2, when he collapsed after taking a hit to the chest from Bengals' wide receiver Tee Higgins. 

Hamlin's locker room speech took place just before Sunday's AFC Divisional Round game — a rematch of the game that was canceled after Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.

The Bills tweeted a photo mid-game of Hamlin cheering on his team, holding up his signature heart hand gesture as the crowd roared in support. 

The Bills would go on to lose to the Bengals 27-10 in Sunday's rematch. Following the loss, which eliminated the Bills from the playoffs and ended the team's season, Hamlin tweeted "We'll be back… don't even trip."

Prior to Sunday Hamlin was seen in a photo linebacker Matt Milano posted on his Instagram account of his teammate at the Bills facility on Saturday. And he's not yet spoken publicly except for posting messages on his social media accounts.

Despite his public appearance, Damar still faces a lengthy rehabilitation, his marketing representative told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

"Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly to ensure there are no setbacks or after effects," Jordon Rooney said. "Though he is able to visit the team's facility, Damar is not in position to travel often, and requires additional rest to help his body heal."

Rooney provided the update to emphasize Hamlin still faces hurdles since being discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center on Jan. 11. Hamlin's release came five days after his doctors said the player was breathing on his own, walking, talking and showing no signs of neurological damage.

Rooney's update also gave perspective to comments made by Bills coach Sean McDermott, who on Wednesday said Hamlin has begun making regular visits to the team's facility. McDermott, however, stressed the 24-year-old was taking "a baby step at a time," while adding, Hamlin is "dipping his toe back in here and getting on the road to just getting back to himself."

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