On Thursday, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn opened up his press conference talking about the tragedy that happened on Monday night, when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field as teammates watched in horror. (Note: The latest update provided by the Bills is very optimistic. According to the team, Hamlin is now awake, responsive and “neurologically intact.”)
Glenn shares a personal connection to Hamlin, and the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals players who bore witness to this horrible event, because he went through something very similar back in 1997 when he was a player for the New York Jets. The incident is likely familiar to many Detroit fans as Lions defensive lineman Reggie Brown suffered a spinal injury on the field, lost consciousness, and had to be given CPR on field to bring him back to life.
While Glenn was on the opposite sidelines that day, he and Brown were friends and teammates from their shared time at Texas A&M just a couple years prior.
“I was there to actually see it, witness it,” Glenn recalled. “And to see my friend lay down there and know that his career is over with. But not just that, you don’t know what’s happening. Only thing I do know is I saw him and he was purple and blue, and that was as scary as it can get.”
There was one pretty significant difference between the two events, however. After a long period of deliberation, the NFL decided to indefinitely postpone the Bills and Bengals game on Monday. In Brown’s case, there was a just delay of about 17 minutes, and then the Lions and Jets resumed play. Glenn says he’s not sure how he was able to carry on that day.
“It’s hard to say, to be honest with you,” Glenn said. “And I’m going to say this again, that wasn’t even important to be honest. It was the fact that I didn’t know what was going on with Reggie at the time. I think this (week) was the same situation. I think the NFL handled it perfect (this time). Getting the players off the field. Man, the first responders, the medical people, I think they did an outstanding job. They gave him another chance. I know that’s what he wants, another chance.”
That said, Glenn didn’t have an opinion on whether this weekend’s games should be postponed. But he does know from personal experience this is not something that Bengals and Bills players will ever forget.
“That play will never go away,” Glenn said of his own experience. “The fact that it was a close friend of mine. The fact that that’s a brotherhood, as it regards to who it was, and the fact that every time I saw him after that, that conversation came up. And any time you think about your career, things like that will always flash. So that will never leave me at all. I know those players in Buffalo and Cincinnati, that’ll never leave them, too.”