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Damar Hamlin Celebrated in Moving Tribute at NFL Honors

Feb 9, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, US; Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin poses for a photo on the red carpet before the NFL Honors award show at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On a night where the NFL's best were honored with awards, a player who didn't receive a trophy was one of the brightest honorees. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest in a Week 17 game, was celebrated by everyone in attendance at the NFL Honors as he appeared in-person on the stage during the second half of the ceremony.

A moving four-minute tribute video to Hamlin's story played during the ceremony, detailing how the medical personnel at that Bills-Bengals game saved Hamlin's life, and how the football community and Bills rallied to support Hamlin as he made an incredible recovery.

The moment got even better after the video, as Hamlin himself walked on to the stage to the biggest ovation of the night. Joining him were the members of those medical staffs from that Week 17 game.

The man who administered life-saving CPR to Hamlin, Bills trainer Denny Kellington, received a fifth-place MVP vote from ESPN's Suzy Kolber according to Alaina Getzenberg.

"First I would like to just thank God for even being here," Hamlin began his speech, continuing "Sudden cardiac arrest is nothing I would have ever chosen to be a part of my story. But that's because sometimes our own visions are too small, even when we think we are seeing the bigger picture. My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player that I  could be. But God's plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world."

"I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns, and a journey full of milestones. But its a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose ... The journey will continue."

A day prior to the Honors, Hamlin was named the NFLPA's Alan Page Community Award winner, after a groundswell of support following his cardiac arrest led a toy drive he started to reach over $9 million in donations. The same day, NFLPA Medical Director Dr. Thom Mayer offered a guarantee that Hamlin would be able to play football again.

You can watch Hamlin's entire speech above.