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Five finalists for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award were announced last week.
Among the five, there is one who many thought would never play again after a near-death experience on the field in January 2023.
“I say this very humbly, I’m a humble person, but it feels like something aligned,” Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin told Fox News Digital of the recognition he received in being named this year’s finalist.
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Hamlin, 25, went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field during a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, 2023. Hamlin’s remarkable recovery was celebrated around the sports community, but then in April, just months after the incident, the third-year player made it clear that he intended on returning to the field. In November, he made good on that promise.
“He can vouch for the tough process that it was,” Hamlin said of longtime friend and teammate Dane Jackson.
“All the steps that it took getting back to playing football – offseason, season, training camp, putting the helmet on – all of that was a process. And it’s still a process, and I think it will forever be a process as long as I decide to continue to play. But I’m built for it. Where we come from and the things that we overcame to even make it to the NFL, we’re all testimonial stories.”
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Hamlin was named a finalist alongside Joe Flacco, Baker Mayfield, Matthew Stafford and Tua Tagovailoa.
In addition to Hamlin being named a finalist, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was named a finalist for MVP.
“He’s a leader. He’s a great athlete. He’s a captain. He’s an MVP no matter what,” Jackson told Fox News Digital. “He’s done a lot of great things for this league. And he’s going to continue to do those things. He’s on the rise. He’s got a lot of great qualities, and he’s going to continue to be a great quarterback for this league, for sure.”
“Any time you got [No. 17] out there on the field, you got a chance of winning no matter who else is out there,” Hamlin added. “He’s a special talent, but he’s also a special person, a special human being. I love him. I’ve never met anyone like him.”
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The winners will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 8.
Hamlin and Jackson spoke to Fox News Digital on behalf of Bounty in promotion of the Ultimate Wingmen campaign ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.
“It’s been a great blessing for us,” Jackson said of the campaign. “We go way back. We grew up together. We’ve got a lot of history together. Seeing our journey, the trials and tribulations that we’ve been through to get to where we’re at, and to be in this position to pair up with Bounty, he’s been my wingman my entire life.”
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