News & Notes: Browns 'sending our best wishes' to Bills safety Damar Hamlin

Hamlin has been on the minds of Browns players and coaches in the two days since he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field Monday against the Bengals

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As the Browns begin their final week of practice this season, the thoughts of players and coaches are still on the well-being and recovery of Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

Hamlin remains sedated and in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center after he suffered a cardiac arrest following a collision to his chest in the Bills' game Monday night against the Bengals. The game was postponed, and the NFL has showered Hamlin, who was administered CPR and given an IV on the field after the hit, with support and prayers as he continues to undergo testing and treatment.

"It goes without saying it's been a tough couple days for everybody," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "My thoughts, my prayers and our team's thoughts and prayers are with Damar and his family. His family, his football family, (Bills head coach) Coach (Sean) McDermott, (Bills defensive coordinator) Coach (Leslie) Frazier and his teammates. Just thinking about all those guys. Sending our best wishes and sending our prayers to them because that's what we can do right now."

The Browns addressed the incident in their first discussion in a team meeting and have professionals ready for any players who may need help. Stefanski said he let the team know about the resources they have available and acknowledged that it wasn't going to be easy for everyone to resume football activities this week.

"I've talked individually to a bunch of guys, and I of course have opened it up to anyone else who wants to talk," he said. "I think the biggest thing is making sure there are professionals here. We're blessed to have people here every single day, so we have the resources here.

​​"Everybody processes this a little bit differently. Everything about this is just praying for this young man and his family. That's what we can do, and that's what we are doing."

Hamlin's situation has served as a dark reminder about what players put on the line each game.

"In this game, you always know in the back of your head that this is a very physical sport, this is a very, very aggressive, physical sport, and it's tough to really talk about that, especially when you're asking me if it was me," TE David Njoku said. "It could be anybody, but it doesn't really hit until it pretty much happened. All I can say right now is that I'm praying for him and his family."

One positive Browns players and others around the league have been pleased to see is the outpouring of support for Hamlin's toy drive, Chasing M's Foundation, which has received over $6.5 million dollars in donations on a GoFundMe page.

"It just shows that outside people are starting to see that we aren't just football players; we're humans," CB Greg Newsome II said. "I feel like an event like that and what happened shows that we're humans first. I'm glad that they stopped the game. It just shows that we're humans, and we try to go out there and put on a show, but at the end of the day, our safety and our life matters."

The Browns will work through a normal week of practice and meetings leading up to their final game of the season Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Stefanski said while Hamlin has been in everyone's thoughts since Monday, no players have expressed hesitations to him about proceeding through a normal week, and help will continue to be available for anyone who may need it.

"You just are respectful of the situation," Stefanski said. "Every single one of us is thinking about this young man and his family. Then we are also going to do our job, and it doesn't mean we're going to stop thinking about that."

Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers

Injury Updates

OT Jack Conklin (ankle) and CB Denzel Ward (shoulder) both did not practice Wednesday after they sustained their injuries Sunday against the Commanders.

Stefanski said he will wait later in the week for more definitive status on if they'll play Week 18.

"We will see," he said. "Not ruling either one out. We will see how the week goes. Hard to say."

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