Buffalo Bills Return Kick-Off With 96-Yard Touchdown While Damar Hamlin Watches From Hospital Bed

Recovering Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin watched Sunday’s game from a hospital bed while his team endeavored to leave everything on the field as they played the New England Patriots.

Hamlin shared a photo of himself, still hooked up to oxygen, an IV, and a number of monitors, ready to watch the game from his hospital room.

GAMETIME!!! @BuffaloBills 💙 pic.twitter.com/PQYClonUHb

— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023

And the game started off with a bang — Nyheim Hines punctuated the opening kick-off by returning it for a 96-yard touchdown.

As called on the Buffalo Bills Radio Network: pic.twitter.com/mZwbmIsi9L

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 8, 2023

Hines ran straight through the end zone and turned, boosting himself into the stands where fans hugged him and cheered — and the entire stadium exploded with screams and applause.

“OMFG!!!!” was Hamlin’s first response, and then he added, “FREE HINES.”

FREE HINES @TheNyNy7

— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023

Buffalo Bills players on the field after the touchdown made it clear that Hamlin was on their minds, flashing three fingers in the air as they celebrated getting the first points on the scoreboard.

That was for 3⃣@BuffaloBills | #ForDamar pic.twitter.com/3SVR08bwnX

— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2023

The Patriots answered with a touchdown of their own, but the Bills put another one on the board early in the second quarter.

dawson. knox. #NEvsBUF | #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/muWZjM80FD

— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 8, 2023

Tight end Dawson Knox approached the cameras after he completed the play, flashing the phrase “I love you” with his hands.

Hamlin definitely got the message, tweeting back, “I love you too @dawson_knox.”

I love you too 🥹🫶🏾 @dawson_knox

— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023

Some of Hamlin’s teammates had arrived for pregame warm-ups wearing Hamlin’s number three on a jersey or a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “love for Damar,” making it clear that Sunday’s game was to be played in his honor.

God damnit I love this team

— mike (@Mikeshwartz6) January 8, 2023

Pregame celebrations included a moment of thanks and recognition for the team’s athletic training staff and medical personnel. Only one staff member was not present to be recognized — Tabani Richards — who is still in Cincinnati with Hamlin as he recovers.

The @BuffaloBills honored their entire athletic training staff before today’s game. Only one member was missing: Tabani Richards, who remains in Cincinnati with Damar Hamlin. pic.twitter.com/DLjTUc6mqa

— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 8, 2023

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