Damar Hamlin made the Buffalo Bills' initial 53-man roster on Tuesday, seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest after taking a hit during an NFL game.
With teams required to trim their squads to 53 on Tuesday, the 25-year-old defensive back made the cut, having hit every benchmark on his path back to the league.
His return was far from assured after the frightening scenes of January 2 in Cincinnati, when Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins and seconds later collapsed on the field.
Emergency medical workers restored his heartbeat on the field and he was taken to a nearby hospital, the game halted and never completed.
Hamlin later moved to a Buffalo hospital and only nine days after his cardiac arrest was released.
He said in April that doctors found a blow to the chest had caused his heart to stop, a rare condition called commotio cordis.
Since being cleared to return to football activities, Hamlin has progressed through off-season practice and his first game action in a pre-season contest against Indianapolis on August 12.
The 25-year-old is hoping to play a regular role in what would be his third season in the league.
A flurry of kicker trades preceded the deadline for teams to trim their rosters to 53.
The New England Patriots sent kicker Nick Folk to the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday in exchange for a 2025 seventh-round draft pick.
Folk, 38, has made 108 of his 121 field goal attempts since 2019 and is the NFL's fourth-leading active scorer with 1,517 career points.
The deal follows the Cleveland Browns' trade for kicker Dustin Hopkins from the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos' acquisition of Wil Lutz from the New Orleans Saints.
Other roster cuts on Tuesday saw the Philadelphia Eagles waiving two-time Olympic hurdler Devon Allen. However, the 28-year-old speedster could be a candidate to return to the Eagles practice squad, where he spent all of last season.
The Chargers released quarterback Max Duggan, a Heisman Trophy runner-up while with Texas Christian University, although he, too, could find himself back on the team's practice squad.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick noted that while Tuesday's roster cuts make for a difficult day, being cut isn't necessarily the end of the road for a player -- even with the team that cut him.
"The process is far from over," Belichick said. "Not all the players that you would ask about who aren't here aren't necessarily not going to be back here."