For what seems like the first time in recent memory, the entire NFL world has come to a near-screeching halt over the past 48 hours following the incredibly scary incident involving Bills safety Damar Hamlin on Monday Night Football.
As the entire country continues to pour in thoughts, prayers, and donations to Hamlin’s charity toy drive, many around the league have shared their personal stories regarding Hamlin and one of the most recent anecdotes came from Brandon Staley on Wednesday afternoon.
During his time coaching at Division III John Carroll, Staley was personally in charge of recruiting the region that included Hamlin’s native Pittsburgh. He recalled recruiting Hamlin at just 15 years old out of Central Catholic High School and he noted that he still has a relationship with head coach Terry Totten to this day.
“The first thing was just the prayers for him and his family, prayers for the Bills and his teammates and his coaches — everybody that is involved within that organization — prayers for the Bengals and their players, because they were sharing the field that night,” said Staley. “You just know that, if you’re a part of this game, when something like that happens, it impacts so many people.
“Since that play, you’ve seen that football brings people together, and the power of prayer. What you’ve been able to see since is what, I think, makes football special. We send our deepest prayers to Damar and his family, the Bills players and their organization, the Bengals, and everybody that is involved with pro football.”
Brandon Staley says that the situation with Damar Hamlin especially struck close to home. Staley recruited Hamlin out of Central Catholic HS while he coached at John Carroll and Chargers DC Renaldo Hill and WR coach Chris Beatty coached Hamlin at Pitt.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) January 4, 2023
With Hamlin playing his collegiate football at the University of Pittsburgh, several other coaches on staff who spent time at Pitt also have close connection to the Bills safety.
Defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill spent three years as the defensive backs coach for Pitt from 2015-2017. Wide receivers coach Chris Beatty’s last stop before being hired by the Chargers was also at Pitt where he coach wideouts from 2019-2020.
As two coaches who helped shape Hamlin into the outstanding man and player he is today, there’s no doubt they have been fighting through a lot of the same pain and agony many of Hamlin’s current teammates and coaches have been going through.
The immediate response from everyone around the country has been incredible to watch and we can only hope to continue hearing positive news from Hamlin’s camp over the coming days.
If you feel like donating to Hamlin’s toy drive, you can do that right here.