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'I'm in a good place': Tee Higgins speaks for first time since MNF, in contact with Damar Hamlin's mom

Browns Bengals Football
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 15:34:05-05

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WCPO) — Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins said he's "in a good place" following a positive update on Damar Hamlin's health.

Higgins was the last person to have contact with Hamlin before he went into cardiac arrest. While the Buffalo Bills safety is still in critical condition at UC Medical Center, doctors said Hamlin is awake, speaking and his neurological function is intact.

Hamlin's mother spoke with Higgins Thursday to tell him the good news.

"She's telling me that she's thinking of me, praying for me and things like that, telling me that he's OK, just all the good, positive stuff," Higgins said. "Just knowing that he's OK, he's doing better, makes me feel better inside."

Hamlin's family has been outspoken in their support of Higgins, joining NFL players in calling for any criticism of him to stop.

Family members said Higgins has been in contact with them since Hamlin went to the hospital.

"Obviously, it's been hard, just because I had something to do with the play, but everybody's been making me feel whole again," Higgins said.

Tyler Boyd, a longtime friend of Hamlin, said Higgins has been through a lot this season with the passing of his father and witnessing Hamlin collapse, but said the 23-year-old is "a level-headed guy" who can ignore the unwarranted criticism.

"Tee's got a good head on his shoulders, but I just stayed on him because I know how much he felt after the game about (what happened)," Boyd said. "I know it's not his fault at all."

Boyd said he had been excited to face off against a fellow Pitt Panther, someone he has been close with for years. But when Hamlin went down, none of that mattered.

"They say we live and die on the field, that's just a (phrase) because of how much we put into the game, but for that to actually put his life on the line for a football game ... is it worth it? No," Boyd said. "It just lets people know, don't take things for granted. Always be genuine, always be kind, always respect people because you never know when that moment could come."

The NFL announced it will not resume the Bengals-Bills game. The Bengals now look toward their Week 18 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Higgins said it is hard to try and play after what happened, but "at the end of the day, we are professional football players and we do have a job to do." He said he'll continue to pray for Hamlin as he preps for the game.

Boyd said getting a positive update helped clear his worries so he could be ready for Sunday.

"I think I'll be pretty fine now that he's OK and he's responsive," Boyd said. "That relieved me from everything."

The Bengals host the Ravens at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This story was originally reported on wcpo.com.