January 5, 2023 The latest updates on NFL star Damar Hamlin's condition

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 9:26 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023
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9:34 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

NFL developing plans to recognize Damar Hamlin prior to each NFL game this weekend

From CNN's Oliver Darcy

The NFL is working on plans to recognize Damar Hamlin ahead of every NFL game scheduled for this upcoming weekend, two people familiar with the matter told CNN. 

Those plans have not yet been finalized to honor the Buffalo Bills safety after he suffered a cardiac arrest during the "Monday Night Football” matchup between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.

9:32 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

NFL officially cancels the week 17 game between Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

The National Football League announced Thursday that the previously suspended Week 17 game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals has been canceled.

The game on Monday night was suspended in the first quarter after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after a collision.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed all clubs of his decision, after contacting the Bills, Bengals and NFL Players Association leadership, according to the news release.

“This has been a very difficult week,” Goodell said in a statement. “We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country. We are also incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical personnel and commend each and every one of them.”
8:38 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Hamlin has the most purchased jersey among all athletes across all sports on Fanatics since Monday night

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Damar Hamlin jerseys are the most sought-after at the sports apparel store, Fanatics, since the Buffalo Bills safety's horrific on-field incident Monday in Cincinnati.

“Damar still has the most-purchased jersey among all athletes across all sports on Fanatics since Monday night,” a spokesperson for Fanatics tells CNN.

The company will donate all proceeds from jersey sales to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, according to Fanatics co-chair Michael Rubin. In a tweet on Tuesday, he said "fans are showing an incredible outpouring of love and support for Damar Hamlin in buying his jersey."

Fanatics sells licensed sports merchandise for the world's biggest sports brands, according to the website. 

“Fanatics’ partners include all major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, PGA) and hundreds of collegiate and professional teams, which include several of the biggest global soccer clubs,” the company website says. 

7:17 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills head coach calls assistant athletic trainer a "real hero" for his response to Hamlin's collapse

From CNN's Jacob Lev

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott praised the team's assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington for his response during Monday night's game.

Kellington sprung into action when Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field.

McDermott called Kellington a "real leader" and "real hero."

“As they say, practice pays off and it did in this case," McDermott said. "But again, the context for an assistant to find himself at that position and needing to take the action that he did and step up and take charge like he did. There were others on the field as well is nothing short of amazing and courage that took — you talk about a real leader, a real hero in saving Damar’s life and just admire his strength.” 

Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins brought attention to Dellington's name in a tweet earlier Thursday.

"Denny Kellington let’s praise this name and person for reviving Our Brother Damar on the field. Denny gave CPR and chest compressions to get his Heart Back Beating #DennyKellington And also thank you to all the doctors and Medical professionals that have helped and assisted," Dawkins said. 

Kellington has worked for the Bills athletic training staff since 2017. Prior to joining the Bills, he was a member of the Syracuse sports medicine staff beginning in 2005.

6:28 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills quarterback dismisses the idea that receiver involved in Hamlin tackle bears any blame

Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals is seen during a football game on December 18, 2022, in Florida.
Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals is seen during a football game on December 18, 2022, in Florida. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Bills' quarterback says there's no place for criticism of Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, who was on the other end of a collision with Damar Hamlin just before the safety collapsed.

Josh Allen was standing up to leave the microphone Thursday after addressing media in Orchard Park, New York, but sat back down quickly.

"I do want to say one more thing," he told reporters.

The star quarterback referenced "some stuff I saw on Twitter" criticizing Higgins, with the critics implying he bears blame for Hamlin's medical emergency.

Allen said he was glad to see Hamlin's parents quickly reject that idea. They said through a spokesperson Wednesday that the incident was a "freak accident" and "nothing that Tee could control."

"I hope that he got some relief today," Allen said of Higgins. "People should not be attacking him whatsoever, and I'm glad that Damar's family came out and said that."

"That's a football play, and I hope that he doesn't hold that upon himself, because there is nothing else that he could have done in that situation," the quarterback added.

The hard collision between the two players before Hamlin collapsed did not prompt a penalty from officials.

Higgins has reached out to share his support for the hospitalized safety's family, the Hamlins' spokesperson said.

Well-wishers support Higgins' cause: The Bengals receiver has seen a wave of donations for a foundation he supports in the time since Hamlin's injury.

Two verified GoFundMe campaigns supported by Higgins have raised nearly $20,000 to help fight ALS. Over 800 donations have poured in for the axeALS Foundation, and that number was still climbing Thursday.

Former NFL player Eric Stevens founded axeALS with his wife, Amanda, after he was diagnosed with the disease at just 29 years old.

“After the incident, people wanted to support Higgins and they saw his #MyCauseMyCleats campaign and they started donating on our website,” Amanda Stevens told CNN on Thursday.

“There are amazing humans out there, wanting to do good for the world,” Stevens said. 

5:20 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills coach moved to tears by thought of Hamlin learning his charity has now raised millions

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott grew emotional during Thursday's news conference as he reflected on the national outpouring of support for his hospitalized player, Damar Hamlin.

McDermott said he had been thinking about the good news Hamlin's mother would be able to share with him when he woke up. Millions of dollars have been collected online for the safety's charity as NFL fans and other well-wishers looked for an outlet to show their support.

"It's amazing to, to know the impact that this has had on so many people, and for now Damar to be awake, and his mom to be able to share that with him is — incredible," a teary-eyed McDermott told reporters.

5:12 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills head coach says he is grateful for first responders and medical teams

From CNN's David Close

An ambulance leaves the field with Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin on January 2 in Cincinnati.
An ambulance leaves the field with Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin on January 2 in Cincinnati. (Joshua A. Bickel/AP)

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott opened Thursday's news conference by thanking first responders, the medical teams for the Bills and Bengals, as well as the staff, doctors and nurses at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. 

McDermott specifically thanked Monday night's opponents the Cincinnati Bengals, notably head coach Zac Taylor. 

"The news has been very encouraging as we all are up to date at this point," McDermott said about the medical updates on safety Damar Hamlin. "Just extremely grateful."

5:01 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills quarterback Josh Allen emotional in thanking medical staff for rushing to Hamlin's aid

Buffalo Bills' quarterback Josh Allen speaks during a press conference on January 5.
Buffalo Bills' quarterback Josh Allen speaks during a press conference on January 5. (CNN)

The Buffalo Bills' star quarterback Josh Allen grew emotional Thursday when thanking the medical staff for their swift response to Damar Hamlin's collapse and for "saving his life."

Allen, speaking at a news conference in Orchard Park, New York, paused to collect himself as he walked through the experience.

"You lose sleep, you hurt for your brother," he said. "A lot of shared grief."

"But (getting) updates, and positive updates, eases so much of that pain and that tension that you feel," the quarterback said.

"The scene just replays over and over in your head," Allen said, when asked to reflect on his thoughts during the on-field medical response. "It's hard to answer that question and actually describe how I felt, how my teammates felt in that moment."

Allen credited head coach Sean McDermott for a "perfect" response in the locker room and in support of his players in the days since Hamlin's collapse.

4:48 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Bills coach says the team's general manager and head trainer stayed behind in Cincinnati

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott speaks during a news conference on January 5.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott speaks during a news conference on January 5. (CNN)

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said the news on his team's safety Damar Hamlin, who collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest Monday night, has been "very encouraging."

He said the team has been staying apprised via "incremental updates" from the staff at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and from the team's general manager Brandon Beane and the team's head trainer, Nate Breske, who stayed behind in Cincinnati.