Cincinnati Bengals coach's classy move after Damar Hamlin collapsed in NFL clash

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Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor conferred with Buffalo Bills counterpart Sean McDermott following Damar Hamlin
Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor conferred with Buffalo Bills counterpart Sean McDermott following Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest (Image: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Zac Taylor's intervention seemingly played a key role in the suspension of Monday's NFL clash between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals following Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest.

As of Tuesday morning, Bills safety Hamlin remained in a critical condition after collapsing in the first quarter of the NFL clash at Paycor Stadium. Players were seen in tears and praying for Hamlin's health following the incident, with many visibly shaken by what had occurred in Cincinnati.

NFL officials initially looked set to resume the key AFC fixture despite the tragic turn of events, but it seems Taylor played a big role in ensuring that wasn't the case. That's after Cincinnati's head coach stepped in to take control of the situation following a conference with his opposite number.

"Per [NFL commentator] Joe Buck, once officials gave each team 5 minutes to warm up before resuming play, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor walked across the field and consulted Bills HC Sean McDermott," tweeted ABC 36 News anchor Paxton Boyd. "Both coaches then sent their teams to their respective locker rooms. Such a classy move by Taylor."

Monday's matchup was initially suspended for around an hour before the official decision came through to postpone it altogether. Buffalo receiver Stefon Diggs was later seen arriving at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center's emergency department to be near Hamlin and his family.

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Cincinnati Bengals coach's classy move after Damar Hamlin collapsed in NFL clashBuffalo Bills players were seen in tears and prayed for team-mate Damar Hamlin following his cardiac arrest (Joshua A Bickel/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

The incident was reminiscent of the cardiac arrest midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered during Denmark's Euro 2020 opener against Finland in June 2021. The decision was made to resume the fixture later the same day on that occasion, causing controversy among the football community.

It was soon confirmed that Eriksen was in a stable condition and had been fitted with a heart-starter device (IDC). The Dane returned to top-flight football eight months later and has since signed for Premier League giants Manchester United, as well as resuming his international career.

However, one could argue that the more extreme physical nature of American football made the potential risks too great given Monday's conditions. Taylor and Bills counterpart McDermott were deservedly praised for agreeing to call off the game, with the Bengals leading 7-3 at the time of the suspension.

Cincinnati Bengals coach's classy move after Damar Hamlin collapsed in NFL clashCincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor insisted on Monday's game against the Buffalo Bills being called off (Jeff Dean/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

It was reported that a group of between 50 to 75 players from both the Bills and Bengals squads had gathered at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to show their support for Hamlin and his family. The NFL, meanwhile, has encountered widespread criticism for even considering continuing the game given the circumstances.

"I thought the coaches led tonight," said NFL executive Troy Vincent. "They led their locker rooms." Former fullback-turned-host Jacob Hester tweeted he had "a lot of respect for how Sean McDermott and Zac Taylor handled an incredibly difficult situation."

Tom Sunderland

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