After a triumphant return to the football field last week, former Pitt star and Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin returned home to Pittsburgh Saturday night.
Hamlin, of course, is a Pittsburgh native. He grew up in the McKees Rocks area of Pittsburgh before going on to attend Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Pitt. He returned back to Pittsburgh for the first time since he suffered a cardiac arrest in a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals last January.
And it was certainly a warm welcome from the Steelers, Bills and Pitt fans in attendance.
Damar back home in Pittsburgh @HamlinIsland
— NFL (@NFL) August 19, 2023
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) August 19, 2023
Hamlin reunited with his former position coaches Archie Collins and Cory Sanders, and he shared an emotional moment with Pat Narduzzi before kickoff, too.
Jet24 Sports’ Mike Fenner caught up with Narduzzi before the Steelers-Bills game to talk about Hamlin’s return to his hometown — finally playing football again.
“It’s awesome,” Narduzzi told Fenner. “He’s blessed, we’re all blessed to see him back out there, that Monday night was crazy. Never doubted that that would happen. Just knowing Damar and his personality, how strong he is, I knew that would be the case.”
“It’s family, having family, it’s your health first and foremost before football, but when you have it all, it’s even better, right? He must be living good, right? He’s living good, and I’m proud of him.”
WATCH: @Pitt_FB head coach @CoachDuzzPittFB caught up with @BuffaloBills @HamlinIsland pregame tonight at Acrisure Stadium ahead of Steelers-Bills talking about how great the comeback has been for his former player: pic.twitter.com/AjFi8mPs1h
— Mike Fenner (@Fenner_6) August 19, 2023
Hamlin received a loud round of applause from the Acrisure Stadium crowd when his name was announced by the PA announcer in the first half, and he racked up three more tackles (all solo) in his second preseason game this season. He’s recorded six tackles (all solo) — which includes a fourth down run stuff in his first game back.
He 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.
The Bills’ first regular season game this season is set for Sept. 11 against the Jets, and after Hamlin’s return in the preseason, it’s a good bet that he will see some action.