The all-star quarterback who has made Buffalo a favorite for the Super Bowl says Damar Hamlin's frightening collapse has led to his own "spiritual awakening."
Quarterback Josh Allen guided the Bills to a 34-31 victory over Miami Sunday and has led the Bills to three straight division titles, including a 13-3 record this season.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Allen says he was personally impacted by the events surrounding Hamlin's collapse and recovery. Hamlin experienced a cardiac arrest on national television and was resuscitated with CPR.
"I said this in my press conference the other day, [there has been] just kind of a spiritual awakening for, really for me, and I know for a lot of other people that maybe didn't have the strongest belief or weren't the … strongest Christian followers," Allen said during an episode of ESPN's Kyle Brandt's Basement.
Sports Spectrum first reported on Allen's remarks.
Allen was particularly impacted, he said when the Bills returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in their first game since Hamlin's brush with death. It had been three years and three months since the Bills had a kickoff return for a touchdown. Hamlin wears No. 3.
"I've never been struck like that before from a play, from an experience, from an emotion, it's never hit me that way before," Allen told Brandt. He cried during the post-game news conference discussing the play. "And again, I'll be the first to admit I haven't been the most devoted Christ-follower in my life. And I've had my different beliefs and thoughts and ideas and stuff like that. But something got a hold of me there. And it was extremely powerful that I couldn't deny."
Growing up in Firebaugh, Calif., Allen said he went to church on Sundays with his family but was more concerned with the 10 a.m. start time for his then-favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, than he was with spiritual matters.
"It's been so long since I've actually been to church. I went this last off-season one or two times but not as much, maybe as I should," Allen said. "But again, I think this conversation that we're having right now, we've had all of these conversations in our locker room. And it's been … really cool to see how guys have been moved and touched by this whole instance and situation and to see the country come together and support for Damar.
"... I can't chalk it down to anything else but a higher power," he said. "And yeah, I'm extremely moved."
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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Timothy T. Ludwig/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.