The NFL flat-out denied asking players from the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati squads to warm up so they could continue Monday’s game after Damar Hamlin’s injury. However, broadcasters ESPN beg to differ.
The league’s vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, has said that, if players got any such instructions on the night, it was not from the NFL.
“I’m not sure where that came from,” Vincent said in a conference early on Tuesday morning (H/T ProFootballTalk). “Frankly, there was no time period for the players to get warmed up. Frankly, the only thing that we asked was that [referee] Shawn [Smith] communicate with both head coaches to make sure they had the proper time inside the locker room to discuss what they felt like was best.
“So I’m not sure where that came from. Five-minute warmup never crossed my mind, personally. And I was the one . . . that was communicating with the Commissioner. We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. And that’s not a place that we should ever be in.”
Joe Buck spoke to the New York Post on Tuesday and noted that there was information pertaining to the game resuming that came from the network’s rules expert John Parry. Buck insisted that Parry was in constant communication with the NFL.
In the clip below, Parry is heard saying he had just received communication from the league, who wanted everyone to regroup while the game was suspended.
This seems to suggest that there was a plan in place prior to the “situation.”
ESPN has also issued a statement on the matter, claiming they were in constant contact with the NFL and simply reported what they were told.
“There was constant communication in real time between ESPN and league and game officials,” they said, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe. “As a result of that, we reported what we were told in the moment and immediately updated fans as new information was learned. This was an unprecedented, rapidly-evolving circumstance. All night long, we refrained from speculation.”
It’s understood that the decision not to continue playing came from the players and coaches. But the NFL continues to push back on this. We reckon it will come to light eventually.
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