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Former Pitt Star, Bills S Damar Hamlin Throws Out First Pitch at Pirates Game



Damar Hamlin made his return to full participation at the Buffalo Bills’ OTAs earlier this month, and he made his return to Pittsburgh Tuesday night to throw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates game.

As he stood on the mound at a rainy PNC Park Tuesday, to the applause of the announced 16,500 in attendance, he soaked in the love. And then he threw out a respectable opening pitch to Pirates star Andrew McCutchen — a sign of things to come.

The Pirates, Hamlin’s hometown team, of course, knocked off the San Diego Padres 9-4 Tuesday on the strength of a solid outing from starter Rich Hill and home runs from Carlos Santana, Jack Suwinski and Nick Gonzales.

Hamlin spent some time with fellow Pittsburgh native David Bednar before the game, trading his Bills jersey for the Mars, Pa. native’s Pirates jersey.

Hamlin threw out the first pitch Tuesday, one of his first public appearances in Pittsburgh since he helped coach the defense during Pitt’s Blue-Gold Spring Game in April, but he’s working on his return to the football field in the fall.

He was cleared by Bills doctors to resume football activities in April, and he returned to the field in full pads for the Bills OTAs earlier this month. It remains to be seen if Hamlin will be able to see the field for the Bills’ first game against the New York Jets on Sept. 11, but it’s a remarkable feat to even be in the position to return to the field after his cardiac arrest in January.

Hamlin’s recovery has also coincided with a national tour, including a meeting with President Joe Biden during which he said he would return to playing football.

“My third night awake in the hospital, I met an ICU doctor,” Hamlin said at the NFL Honors show in February. “He told me he had a similar experience. He showed me he was okay, and that he was okay, and that meant so much to me. There was so much uncertainty at the time ad just him coming to me, showing me that I could live a normal life again, it meant so much to me in the moment.

“So, I want to give a big thank you to him and a special thank you to everyone on this stage for everything they did for me. And thank you to everyone around the country and around the world who prayed for me and hoped for me. The journey will continue.”

Hamlin recorded 91 tackles (63 solo), six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in 15 games last — starting every game in the Bills’ secondary from Week 3 onward. And he served a key role in the Buffalo secondary.

In five seasons at Pitt, he recorded 275 tackles (185 solo), 10 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 21 pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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