PHILADELPHIA — Before the Giants’ locker room opened to the media on Sunday evening, a few staff members emerged through the double doors with tears in their eyes.
Something emotional had just happened in the visitors’ locker room at Lincoln Financial Field. And corner Nick McCloud, a friend and former teammate of Bills safety Damar Hamlin, explained what they’d just discussed.
“Just the thankfulness of being able to come out of a game healthy,” McCloud said earnestly. “With what happened on Monday night, everybody didn’t leave the game [in Cincinnati]. So just thankfulness. Everybody who got the opportunity to play who probably doesn’t normally get to play. It was just great to go out there and compete, for real.”
McCloud, safety Jason Pinnock and right guard Jack Anderson were just some of the Giants’ players whose emotions were complex coming off Hamlin’s frightening emergency last Monday.
The Giants honored Hamlin in a big way on Sunday, though. Tons of players, coaches and staff members wore black shirts bearing Hamlin’s No. 3 that read “Love for Damar,” who has recovered encouragingly in a Cincinnati hospital.
McCloud wore a specially made shirt pregame with Hamlin on the front that read “Love for 3.” And when McCloud sacked Jalen Hurts, he rose from the grass and flashed three fingers in the air.
“Even going out for the warmup was emotional,” McCloud said. “When I was there [in Buffalo with Hamlin], me and him used to warm up every day together before practice. So just going out there for the warmup, getting the sack and making a play for the team and knowing he’s probably gonna see the play was just emotional all the way around.”
Players said they had no reservations going back on the field and playing physically in the wake of Hamlin’s emergency. It helped that they’ve been able to speak with Hamlin, including a locker room FaceTime on Friday.
McCloud even sent Hamlin a photo of him wearing the shirt on Sunday before the game.
“He was happy to see that,” he said.
The Giants are happier Hamlin’s health is continuing to improve.