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Bills resume team meetings after Damar Hamlin’s collapse, with Patriots game still on for Sunday

Fans gathered at a candlelight vigil outside of Buffalo's Highmark Stadium Monday night.Timothy T Ludwig/Getty

BUFFALO — Two days after the collapse of safety Damar Hamlin, the Bills returned to their practice facility Wednesday for meetings and a walkthrough.

Buffalo is scheduled to play the Patriots at 1 p.m. Sunday, in what would be its first game since Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest in the first quarter of Monday night’s game against Cincinnati. Hamlin remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

According to the Bills, Hamlin exhibited “signs of improvement” overnight. NFL executive Jeff Miller had no additional updates on Hamlin’s medical status Wednesday afternoon.

The Bills, who were already operating on a short week, will have just two days of practice before facing the Patriots. As of now, the NFL has said all Week 18 games will take place as scheduled. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said Wednesday during a conference call the league has not yet discussed the possibility of postponing Patriots-Bills, but indicated all options are still on the table.

Vincent said he has spoken to Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, with their conversation focused largely on how he and his players are coping. Their well-being will be a primary factor should the NFL decide to push the game back.


Signs of support Damar Hamlin were everywhere in Buffalo Wednesday, including at Highmark Stadium.Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

“It’s really important we just keep the pulse of the coach and the players,” Vincent said. “We’ll allow Sean, his team, his staff, and the players, which are the most important things here, to guide us if we have to make that decision collectively with the club.”

McDermott and Bills players have not spoken to the media since Hamlin’s collapse, and were not scheduled to do so Wednesday.

Coach Bill Belichick and select Patriots captains (center David Andrews, quarterback Mac Jones, safety Devin McCourty, and special teamer Matthew Slater) were initially scheduled to speak to the media Wednesday before a last-minute cancellation.


According to a Patriots spokesman, the NFL approved “giving both teams an extra day due to these unique circumstances.”

The Patriots practiced Wednesday and plan to Thursday and Friday. Whether or not the Bills practice Thursday will indicate more about the team’s plans for Sunday.

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Nicole Yang can be reached at her @nicolecyang.