Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, running back Raheem Mostert, safety Jevon Holland, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and punter Thomas Morstead met with the media and shared their thoughts, prayers and well-wishes for Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin. Check out the top quotes from their media availabilities.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
"It's hard for me to just see all that hurt, all that – I don't pretend to know exactly what it feels like because I wasn't there and that would be insulting. But I attempt to be empathetic and my heart just breaks for everyone involved. I think the wake of that is long and strong and ever-pervasive. My heart aches for, like I said, the whole Bills organization, specifically Damar's family and himself, but also everybody that chooses to play football and the things that that those emotions can elicit. I wish I could do something about it. Unfortunately, I can't. I do try to – I don't know, in moments like this, the only slight minute comfort that I do find is there is a there seems to be a pervasive theme when tragedy occurs; for whatever reason, you end up seeing glimmers of the best face of humanity. So I think there has been examples of that, of people really aiding and supporting each other, and that is a slight solace to an otherwise terrible event."
"I was asleep actually, but my wife woke me up. Do you guys remember – I think it was the World Cup a couple years ago where (Christian) Eriksen (collapsed)? That messed me up all day when that happened, because it was like 6 (o'clock) in the morning west coast or whatever. I was brought right back to that in different circumstances – you see non-zoomed-in copies and you kind of piece together what's going on and you're just immersed with unknown. It's hard for me – the families, that's where it gets me. It's tough because you know that – I don't want to speak for anyone, but most people, the competition to get to that stage, to get to an NFL team, to be able to perform, the competition is so, so immense that generally you're safe to say that it's someone's dream, because there's so much stuff goes on that you have to decide to push through. And it's a very conflicting, odd feeling when someone experiences that kind of event. In that very morning, they're waking up to do what they're dreaming of. Again, I can't necessarily speak exactly nor do I – I've just played against him. I don't know him in that way. But that's where my brain goes. You're so invested. What people don't understand that you see firsthand when you're in the game long enough and you see people retire, the game is their identity. And I don't think people truly understand what – you might be able to forecast it in your life, for sure, but when you have an identity for such a long time, you're talking about guys playing the game (since they were) five or six (years old), you've invested so much into that game and when the game brings forth something like that – I think that's one of the countless number of reasons that people really struggle with knowing how to feel, because the game gives us so much. Then when something that, whether it's a freak accident or not, it's just hard to kind of digest."
RB RAHEEM MOSTERT
"I was just talking to somebody a little while ago. When you see a guy collapse on the field and need CPR and stuff like that, it's very nerve-wracking, especially in the magnitude that it happened in that way. It's definitely eye opening. That play is going to live with me for the rest of my life and it's scary. You always want the best for guys even if you don't like them or anything like that. I'm not saying I didn't like him. I think he's a great guy. I know several people around the Pittsburgh area that talk highly about him. I know Dan Marino is a Pitt guy too so I'm sure he has a great connection with him as well. But when you see a brother out there on the field and collapsing the way he did, it's nerve-wracking. Scary. I know I grasped for air. It took my breath away just seeing that happen and unfold. It's always good to know that he's going to be ok. Right now in this instance, that's about the only information that they're giving us, that he is improving and he's doing his part. All we can do is just pray and let God take the wheel. I know that's kind of the thing that you want to see and you want to hear, but that's all we can do right now."
S JEVON HOLLAND
"It was tough. Damar is a great individual, a great player. It was pretty surreal to see that happen in live time and not know what was going on. The situation is out of everybody's hands. And the first responders that were there, that were handling that, that was really huge and props to them for being able to execute such a serious situation. I really hope he gets better really soon."
WR JAYLEN WADDLE
"It's definitely difficult. We kind of get normal to how the game of football is played and don't really look at how violent the game is. So seeing a play like that, it's hard. I'm praying for him, his family, the Bills organization, his teammates and everyone involved in it. It's tough but everyone's praying for him. Our team our family is praying for him."
DT CHRISTIAN WILKINS
"That was definitely a tough situation. I'm still dealing with it. Guys are still dealing with it in their own ways. It was definitely a tough situation to see, because at the end of the day – no matter how much we might have a rivalry with Buffalo, or you might go at it with other teams, when you're out there for 60 minutes competing, you're going as hard as you can. But at the end of the day, we're all brothers in arms. We're all from different places in our lives, different backgrounds, but a lot of us come from the same situation. So you definitely feel for a lot of dudes. You're just out there competing and bringing it every day, trying to be your best, living out your dream and things like that can happen. So that's definitely tough. At this time, I just hope people are just praying, continuing to pray for him, his family, his teammates and everybody involved, because that's obviously tragic situation. They've all been in my thoughts and my prayers as we go along."
P THOMAS MORSTEAD
It's something that we're told as players that the teams are prepared for, but I personally have never seen that in action. Just talking to players today, we addressed it as a team. We talked about it before we talked about anything to do with our plan for the week, and really, the message for me personally was he's fortunate that that happened where it happened. You want to either be on an NFL football field or in the emergency room when something like that happens. I think there's over 30 medical specialists that have all sorts of different specialties that are on the field. And from everything that we've seen and that we've been told, the response was about as good and swift and quick as it could have been. Obviously, it's a scary thing for people to witness. I don't want to drudge through the details of it, but it's not just players that you worry about. It's players' wives, girlfriends, families and kids that see that. It was just more of a reinforcement that we really do have the best specialists in the world that are looking out for us and caring for us. A lot of times – I know we've had some things happen this year medically that have been questioned, and we're always looking to get better as a league, and I know the players are always wanting to kind of make gains in that area as well. But I hope that the league and the union and everybody would highlight, regardless of the outcome – we're all praying for a very positive one, and it looks like it's trending in the right direction, but I would hope that the league and the union and players and everyone would really celebrate and highlight the amazing response and work that all those people did. It really should be an encouragement to players and their families that we have the best people out there, so that was kind of one of the main points. Then another point was really just making sure that players aren't tough guys. We're all football players, tough guys but we all have feelings. Making sure that guys are taking care of themselves and getting what they need, whether it's reaching out to a coach, player, family. Maybe you're getting pressure from family because you have a worried wife or a worried mom, or dad, or whatever, or kid. We have all the resources available – people you can speak with and if you don't want to reach out to somebody in person, we put something in everybody's locker today to be able to email or to call somebody that you don't really know but that is somebody that's professional that can kind of help out in that area. Because some people, it hits you immediately and other people, I'm kind of like this, I'm a routine person. What do you do when things go wrong, or you're kind of out of your norm? You go back to your routine, and then if the season's over, whether it's over this week, or over in six weeks, then you're alone by yourself. That's more of what my concern would be is once guys get out and away from other guys in locker rooms."