The Bills and their fans pay various tributes to Damar Hamlin

The Bills and their fans paid several tributes to Damar Hamlin on Sunday. Jerseys with the number 3 and messages written on shirts abounded.

Fans even signed a 10-foot (3-meter) wide card, wishing the safety a speedy recovery.

But it wasn’t in the script what happened when the Bills played again.

In Buffalo’s first action since Monday, when Hamlin went into cardiac arrest midgame, Nyheim Hines caught the kickoff and returned the ball 96 yards to the end zone against the New England Patriots.

The touchdown raised the spirits of the public in what was already a day of catharsis in Buffalo. The nearly weeklong outpouring of support for Hamlin continued in the game that marked the Bills’ comeback for the first time since Hamlin received CPR on the field after making a tackle in the first quarter of a game in Cincinnati.

Since then, Hamlin has made what doctors say is a remarkable recovery.

A simple store-bought card wasn’t enough for Bills fan Ryan Magnuson in his desire to show his support for Hamlin.

A sign shop owner, Magnuson went further by designing a 4-by-10-foot (1.2-by-3-meter) canvas card that he mounted near the entrance to Bills stadium for all to see and sign before Buffalo’s game against the Patriots.

“It has been something very positive. Bills fans, Patriots fans and people wearing jerseys from other NFL teams have come up. I think right now this is bigger than a one-team thing,” Magnuson said. “This is for Damar.”

The weeklong shows of support continued as the Bills returned to the field.

Although he remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Hamlin has shown neurological function considered excellent since Saturday. The safety is already breathing on his own and has also been able to speak.

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Magnuson’s goal is to find a way to get his gigantic card to Hamlin.

Supporters filled the front of the banner with well-wishing messages about three hours before kick-off. There were phrases like “Stay strong” and “Love”. Some wore Hamlin’s No. 3 jerseys.

“Seeing it live was kind of sad,” said Kyle Blaney, wearing a Patriots jersey. “But it’s nice to see everyone coming together to support him, not just the Bills fans.”

NFL fans across the board have rallied in support of Hamlin this week, including many who contributed more than $8 million to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s foundation. Sunday offered the opportunity to pay tribute together during the final day of the NFL regular season.

Electronic signs in the Highmark Stadium parking lots carried the message “Love For Damar 3”. Some fans decorated their homes in Bills red and blue colors and with various tributes to Hamlin.

 

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