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Hamlin Makes First Public Comments: 'Love Has Been Overwhelming'

In his first public comments since suffering cardiac arrest on Monday night, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin posted an Instagram message on Saturday of appreciation for the outpouring of love and prayers he received while hospitalized in intensive care.

"When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much," Hamlin wrote. "The Love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!"

This was the latest of a series of positive signs over the past several days.

On Wednesday night, Hamlin started to awaken. On Thursday, doctors at the University of Cincinnati hospital told reporters he was making substantial progress and appeared to be neurologically intact. On Friday, his breathing tube was removed and he FaceTimed with his Bills teammates in a team meeting, relaying the message “love you boys.”

And on Saturday, he communicated with the rest of the world.

With all the good news and positive signs, Hamlin still remains in critical condition in Cincinnati. Doctors on Thursday said he has a long way to go for a complete recovery, but the removal of the breathing tube on Friday was a big first step toward getting him back home.

Buffalo plays New England on Sunday and players will wear a "3" patch on their jerseys. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be at the game. The Bills are encouraging all NFL teams to join them in wearing “Love for Damar 3″ warm-up T-shirts and outline the "3″ in each 30-yard line number on their fields in Bills blue or red.

"It's going to be a celebration of life and an ongoing life," Bills GM Brandon Beane said on Friday. "Just a celebration that this is not only going to be a celebration in Buffalo but the whole country and I'm sure people internationally that have watched this situation. I'm sure it's going to be a great seat if you've got a ticket to come here and just to be a part of this atmosphere. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up right now thinking about it."

The Bills also worked out a deal with the NFLPA and the NFL to pay Hamlin's 4-year, $3.64 million dollar contract in full despite him landing on injured reserve following his injury, NFL Media reported.