JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The AFC South showdown between the Jaguars and Titans on Saturday night was a footnote to the talk of the NFL world.
The health of Bills safety Damar Hamlin was at the forefront of every conversation on Tuesday as it cast a somber reminder of how quickly things can turn.
Jaguars offensive guard Brandon Scherff said that Hamlin’s collapse and the severity of his condition was a jolt for everyone. It turned a festive Monday night gathering into a moment where football didn’t matter. The NFL postponed the game and hasn’t announced when or if it will resume.
“We we’re just playing a few games at my house and all of a sudden we saw the ambulance go on the field and, you know, it’s bad when the ambulance comes on the field,” Scherff said.
“So, we just prayed for him and hopefully makes a speedy recovery. So, our thoughts are with him and that’s all we can do is pray for him right now.”
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter of a Monday night game. Hamlin stood up after making the play and then fell to the field seconds later. First responders provided CPR on Hamlin and rushed him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The Bills said Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and remains in intensive care.
Scherff said he wouldn’t know how to react if a situation like that of Hamlin’s occurred. Scherff said his worst injury in college was a broken fibula, a difficult medical situation in its own right and one that required surgery. But seeing a teammate being administered CPR on the field during a game is not a common sight.
“I cannot speak on their part. I’ve never been a part of that,” Scherff said of such a severe situation on the field.
“I’ve seen guys obviously down with injury and what you do is kneel by them and set up a prayer and that’s all you can do right now for them.”
As the Jaguars and the rest of the world await updates on Hamlin, a massive showdown looms on Saturday night. The Jaguars (8-8) need to beat the Titans (7-9) to win the AFC South. A win delivers the division title for the first time since 2017. Jacksonville would earn the No. 4 seed and host the opening round of the playoffs. A loss doesn’t end their playoff hopes, but the Jaguars would need help to back in as a wild card.
“I mean, it’s hard [to bottle up the excitement] and some of the younger guys haven’t been in those situations like that before,” Scherff said. “And I think this is one of the biggest games obviously since 2017 here, too, which is what some people say, so not a lot of people have been a part of it. So, it’s going to be exciting to see the reaction and we’re excited to play.”