ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is active for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, meaning he could make his regular-season debut since having a near-death experience last season.
Hamlin appeared in all three preseason games for Buffalo, returning to action after going into cardiac arrest during a game in January. But the third-year player was a healthy scratch in each of the first three regular-season weeks.
A game-day lineup spot opened for Hamlin when safety Jordan Poyer was ruled out with a knee injury. Taylor Rapp is expected to start in Poyer’s place, while Hamlin is listed behind Rapp and Cam Lewis at safety on Buffalo’s depth chart. Hamlin also could contribute on special teams.
Appearing in a regular-season game marks the final step in Hamlin’s bid to resume his playing career in what’s been described as the 25-year-old’s remarkable recovery after going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2.
Since being cleared to resume playing in April, Hamlin has shown no signs of tentativeness in passing every on-field test he’s faced in making the Bills 53-player roster in August. He combined for nine tackles in appearing in all three of Buffalo’s preseason games in August.
Hamlin was starting in place of Hyde when he went into cardiac arrest after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter against the Bengals.
His heart stopped as a result of commotio cordis, which happens when a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat causes cardiac arrest. Doctors have assured Hamlin he can resume playing without any fear of setbacks or reoccurrence.
Along with Poyer, the Bills inactive players on Sunday are: offensive linemen Germain Ifedi and Alec Anderson, defensive tackle Poona Ford, and cornerback Kaiir Elam, the Bills’ first-round draft pick last year who has not been active on game day yet this season.
The outing on Sunday is regarded as an early season showdown between AFC East rivals Miami (3-0) and Buffalo (2-1). The high-octane Dolphins’ offense leads the league in most every statistical category.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.