Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has received backing to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, but not from one of his own teammates. Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco, widely regarded as the other contender for the prize, has put forward Hamlin as the righteous winner after witnessing his remarkable return to football.
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 3, 2023 and had to be revived on the field by medical staff. He was hospitalized for nine days following the incident.
The 25-year-old was cleared to return to action three months later and the safety made three appearances for the Bills, including his start in the division playoff defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
During an appearance on the “Zach Gelb Show” on CBS Sports Radio on Friday, Flacco made it clear that he thinks Hamlin deserves the award due to the mental difficulty in overcoming such a serious health issue.
“For sure,” Flacco said, when asked if Hamlin should win. “I just think mentally to get yourself back to the point where you feel comfortable doing that kind of thing, obviously the physical part doesn’t need any explanation. But the mental part, especially at his position, is pretty cool.”
Flacco grateful for Browns opportunity
Flacco has experienced something of a resurgence of his own this season at the tender age of 39, after being left without an offer to play until December.
The Browns handed former Super Bowl MVP Flacco a one-year deal after losing Deshaun Watson to a shoulder injury and their shrewd decision paid off, as he threw for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns in six starts, leading the Browns into the playoffs.
The Browns’ postseason efforts came to an abrupt end after they were thrashed 45-14 by the Houston Texans in the wild-card playoff game. But Flacco has thoroughly enjoyed having such an important part to play at the tail end of his career.
“I was so fortunate to become a part of this team. It’s a special group. I know a lot of people can say that. But it really is,” Flacco said after the Browns’ playoff defeat.
“To be given a chance to do this with those guys, I’m super grateful for it. Listen, this is why we love football.”