The Bills and Patriots canceled their scheduled media availabilities Wednesday as Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin remained hospitalized in Cincinnati.
New England also called off video conferences with three assistant coaches scheduled for Tuesday morning. Bills players and coaches have not spoken with reporters since Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during Monday night’s road game against the Bengals and had to be resuscitated.
The NFL, which typically requires each team’s players and head coach to speak to the media each Wednesday, “approved giving both the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots an extra day due to these unique circumstances,” according to a Patriots spokesperson.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and multiple team captains now are scheduled to address the media on Thursday, per the team.
Both teams will hold meetings and practice — a walkthrough, in the Bills’ case — Wednesday as they prepare for their Week 18 matchup this Sunday afternoon at Highmark Stadium. The league announced Tuesday that it planned to play this weekend’s games as scheduled, but that is subject to change as players in Buffalo and elsewhere grapple with the aftermatch of Hamlin’s frightening injury.
Hamlin, a second-year safety out of Pittsburgh, remained in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center as of Wednesday, but his family told ESPN’s Coley Harvey that doctors received “promising readings” overnight. Other reports indicated Hamlin’s breathing improved, though he sustained some lung damage and still required a ventilator.
The Bills-Bengals game will not resume this week, with no decision made on whether it will be rescheduled for a future date. The NFL playoffs are scheduled to begin next Saturday, leaving little time for a make-up date without delaying the postseason.
Buffalo and Cincinnati both are in contention for the AFC’s No. 1 seed, with New England fighting for the conference’s seventh and final spot.