Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been named the winner of the 2023 George Halas Award, the Pro Football Writers of America announced Monday.
The award is given annually to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.
Adversity defined the last days of 2022 and early 2023 for Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle during the Bills’ game at Cincinnati during Week 17. He was resuscitated on the field and transferred to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he initially was treated.
He has been cleared to play this season and told reporters on April 18 he intends to return to football.
“This was a life-changing event, but it’s not the end of my story,” Hamlin, 25, said. “I plan on making a comeback to the NFL.”
Hamlin becomes the 55th winner of the Halas Award and the second member of the Bills, joining Kevin Everett (2008).
Other 2023 finalists for the award were New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, San Francisco 49ers/Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera won the award in 2022 after his battle with cancer.