Damar Hamlin Not Expected to Play in Season Opener, His First Game Eligible Since Cardiac Arrest

The backup safety and special teams contributor was fully cleared to resume playing after suffering cardiac arrest mid-game in January

Bryan Bennett/Getty
Bryan Bennett/Getty

Damar Hamlin is not expected to be on the Buffalo Bills’ active roster when the team faces the New York Jets on Monday night, according to multiple reports.

The 25-year-old safety, who suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game in January, is healthy and played in the three preseason games, but he likely won’t see time on Monday, ESPN, the NFL Network and the Associated Press report.

The decision is not unexpected, ESPN said, due to the number of players a team can have on its active roster, and the fact that Hamlin is a backup safety and special teams contributor. He is listed as the fourth safety on the Bills’ depth chart, per the AP.

Last season, he started 13 games in place of Micah Hyde, after the latter suffered a season-ending neck injury, according to ESPN.

Related: Damar Hamlin 'Fully Cleared' to Play Football Again Three Months After Cardiac Arrest

But during the team's game on January 2, Hamlin collapsed on the field after making a tackle and required CPR.

The shocking emergency — which doctors say was caused by commotio cordis — halted and eventually canceled the game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, and made headlines around the world as family, friends and fans awaited word about his status.

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty</p>

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

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Hamlin eventually made a full recovery and was "fully cleared" by doctors to play football again.

"Physically, I'm getting stronger," Hamlin said in an interview with the American Heart Association in May.

Related: Damar Hamlin Sends 'Prayers' to Bronny James and Family After 18-Year-Old's Cardiac Arrest

As he gears up for his third season in the league, he shared his own unique perspective about life — and playing time — at a charity event last week.

"You can never take it for granted," Hamlin said, per ESPN. "Every year, so many people who don't get the opportunity to make the team that you have to show respect for it when you do and you can never take it for granted because, the NFL, they say it stands for not for long. So, to be able to go through my situation and then be able to come back and still show that I can still do it is super big and it means a lot to me and my family."

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