ORCHARD PARK, NY — Jimmy Lacock’s first thought was Buffalo Bills safety Dumar Hamlin, who collapsed on a field in Cincinnati last week.
The former William & Mary coach’s second thoughts after seeing the teary-eyed reactions of the players turned to Bills coach and former player Sean McDermott. If anyone could navigate the team in rough and emotional waters, Lacock knew it was McDermott.
“You knew how serious everything was. And in situations like that, you need a true leader. And Sean certainly is a true leader,” Laycock said by phone this week. They’ve been very lucky to have a head coach named Sean McDermott.”
About ten days later, Hamlin was discharged from a hospital in Buffalo, leaving the Bills refocused and uplifted after a week of mental exhaustion.
Paramedics, nurses and doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and many others played a key role in Hamlin’s remarkable recovery, but McDermott noted the vulnerability, composure and compassion he displayed while leading the team. I am praising the
“He showed compassion, but he still showed he was responsible,” Lacock said. “And I think that’s the problem. Some people just give in, but he doesn’t.”
And the qualities McDermott saw when he first arrived at William & Mary as a walk-on safety from the suburbs of Philadelphia were eventually named team captain, and it was in Lacock’s office that he received a full scholarship. I burst into tears when I was informed that I had won it.
“So I wanted to keep him as a coach,” Lacock said, laughing that McDermott’s tenure as assistant lasted only a year before being hired by the Eagles in his hometown in 1999. I was. He is a coach and I am more proud of him as a person. ”
In his sixth season with Buffalo, the 48-year-old McDermott is already in office by helping transform a regular loser in the midst of a 17-season playoff drought into a five-time postseason qualified candidate. I fixed the period.
What stands out this year is McDermott’s ability to lead the Bills through a season filled with turmoil and pain.
Buffalo (13-3) tied a franchise record win in a single season despite two major snowstorms rescheduling practices and travel, including playing a “home” game in Detroit in November. I got Injuries to key players, including Von Miller, have thinned the roster. And before the season began, the Bills mourned the sudden death of tight end Dawson Knox’s brother, Luke.
Hamlin’s heart stopped before being resuscitated was the most personal.
McDermott took immediate action by luring the players into the locker room, deciding not to resume play there. His compassion was evident in his on-field meeting with the Bengals’ Zack his Taylor his coach. McDermott told him:
Back in Buffalo, McDermott spent most of the first two days focusing on Hamlin and the team’s mental health, with little need to face New England the following weekend. As NFL vice president Troy Vincent put it, McDermott battled his emotions.
When it came time to address the media for the first time three days after Hamlin collapsed, McDermott projected a balance between vulnerability and strength.
He got emotional and paused for nearly 10 seconds as he discussed the outpouring of support for Hamlin.
“Dummer’s mama will share with him when he gets up,” McDermott began, before lowering his head.
When asked about the importance of mental health, McDermott didn’t flinch.
And when the reporter’s cell phone rang, he managed to laugh as Paul Simon’s bouncy hit “You Can Call Me Al” blared.
“At least it was a happy song,” said a smiling McDermott in a moment of de-escalation.
Bills players say McDermott was no exception behind the scenes.
“His humanity,” said center Mitch Morse.
“The coolest thing about this, more than anything else, was that his vulnerability was huge for us. The sport can be macho and tough guys at times. And look at this team room “And I don’t think anyone could give a macho,” Morse added. “He gave us a chance to let our guard down.”
Safety Micah Hyde has seen McDermott evolve by learning how to lead and care for players rather than simply coaching X’s and O’s.
The turning point for Hyde came during the COVID-19 pandemic season. This had the potential to tear the team apart due to the varying opinions of the players.
McDermott was able to strike a balance without taking sides so as not to alienate anyone.
“He’s got real combat experience and I think he really showed who he is. That’s Sean McDermott,” said Hyde. “And he’s shown it to us over the past few years, so it didn’t surprise any of us. that’s what you should do.”
Tim McDermott isn’t surprised by how his brother rose to the occasion. After all, this is how their parents raised them.
Rich, an educator and football coach, and Avis McDermott, an analyst at an insurance and financial firm, worked countless hours a week, leaving little time for vacation, instead spending their sons playing soccer. He made an indelible impression by dedicating himself to taking him to wrestling camps and wrestling camps.
Major League Soccer Philadelphia Union President Tim McDermott said: “We saw this drive, hard work, resilience, perseverance when you’re knocked down, this feeling of keeping going, being knocked down and keeping moving forward.”
And this was reflected in how my younger brother acted when he faced a crisis.
Tim McDermott said, “I’m very proud that he went through this, led this, and consistently maintained who he was.” I think you would say that you did nothing that you would have done.”
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