The recovery of the young Buffalo Bills NFL star who suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals has hit another milestone – he’s joined in a team videoconference.
The young safety reportedly told teammates “love you, boys” after having his breathing tubes removed.
Doctors, family and his team have been left shocked by his miracle progress.
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“You walk in there and he’s responding to commands. It was absolutely not what I thought I was going to hear,” Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Bean said.
“It was just … it was definitely tears of joy.”
Meanwhile, NFL owners have approved a resolution that could lead to a neutral site for the AFC championship after the remainder of the game was cancelled.
The league held a special meeting Friday to consider the recommendation of Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s competition committee.
“We believe this is a focused approach that would only affect four teams and directly address the potential for competitive inequity resulting from 30 teams playing 17 games and two playing 16 games,” Goodell said.
“It was critical for the owners to vote so clubs going into this weekend know what they’re playing for.”
The league chose to cancel the Bills-Bengals game instead of resuming it in the coming weeks to avoid disrupting the start of the postseason and impacting the remainder of the playoff field.
The Bills-Bengals game had major playoff implications for the AFC. Buffalo (12-3) entered the match needing a win to maintain the AFC’s No.1 seed. The Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) now hold that spot. The Bengals (11-4) had a chance to earn that top seed with two more wins and a loss by the Chiefs.
The AFC championship will be played at a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both could have been the No.1 seed and hosted the game had all AFC clubs played a full 17-game regular season.
The league is considering several sites, including indoor and outdoor stadiums.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor made it clear the team isn’t happy with the league changing the rules. The NFL’s 2022 policy manual for game operations states “a team’s standing in its division or in its conference” will be determined by winning percentage if a game is canceled.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the canceled game, the league proposed new rules.
“We just want the rules to be followed,” Taylor said.
“When a game is canceled, you turn to winning percentage to clarify everything, so we don’t have to make up the rules. There’s several instances this season when the club is fined, or people in our building are fined, and we’re told to follow the rules.
“It’s black and white. It’s in the rule book. So, when you’re told we’re going to change that, I don’t want to hear about fair and equitable in that case.”
Rich McKay, the NFL competition committee chairman, said the teams had some input in the process. Katie Blackburn, the executive vice president for the Bengals, told the committee the team wasn’t in favor of the proposal.
“She made a presentation, pretty eloquent and made her points,” McKay said.
“There was plenty (of consideration) given to them because they are the affected team so you wanted to hear from them. I think on the neutral-site situation, basically all three teams going in had to kind of agree they were OK with that situation.
“Didn’t mean they’re going to vote for it, but they were OK with it. And so that always obviously helps with making a proposal like that.”
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