FOOTBALL

Buffalo Bills' safety Damar Hamlin considered playing for Notre Dame in college

Michael Wanbaugh
South Bend Tribune
Cornerback recruit Damar Hamlin walks off the field after Notre Dame's 41-31 win over USC on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (SBT Photo/JARED HAMSHER)

The football world is praying for Damar Hamlin's recovery after the Buffalo Bills safety suffered cardiac arrest Monday night after making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin, 24, was administered CPR on the field and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where latest reports are that he is sedated and listed in critical condition. The game was postponed.

A sixth-round NFL draft pick by the Bills in 2021, Hamlin earned a starting secondary spot early in his second year. A second-team All-ACC player out of the University of Pittsburgh, Hamiln considered attending Notre Dame where two of his Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School teammates ended up playing.

More:Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin collapses on field, suffers cardiac arrest; game vs. Bengals postponed

Former Notre Dame defensive lineman Kurt Hinish and linebacker David Adams each consider Hamlin a great friend and teammate while in high school.

Hinish told the Tribune in 2020 before the Irish played at Pittsburgh, that he and Hamlin became friends in high school and stayed in touch during college. When players returned to their homes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Hinish went paintballing with Hamlin and other Pittsburgh-area football players, including NFL star Aaron Donald. 

Hinish, now a defensive lineman with the NFL's Houston Texans, went on to play a program record 61 games for Irish that was eclipsed in Friday’s TaxSlayer Gator by safety Houston Griffith. Hinish took to Twitter Monday night to let Hamlin know he was praying for him.

More:Notre Dame NG Kurt Hinish bringing Pittsburgh pride in return to Heinz Field

Notre Dame won that game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, 45-3, on Oct. 24, 2020. Hamlin made five tackles from his safety position, including one for a loss. Two years earlier in a 19-14 loss to the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium, Hamlin recorded a game-high nine tackles as a sophomore.  

Adams, a former linebacker for the Irish was also a teammate and a great friend of Hamlin and Hinish at Central Catholic. All three were major recruiting targets of then Irish head coach Brian Kelly’s staff. 

Hamlin, a top 300 player and four-star defensive back, visited Notre Dame during the recruiting process. Former cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght led that effort and Hamlin eventually chose his hometown of Pittsburgh over Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State. 

In a tweet Monday night Lyght recalled his relationship with Hamlin, calling him a "wonderful person."

No former Notre Dame players were involved in Monday night's game.