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Presser Points: Heavy hearts, prayers for Damar Hamlin

The Giants have their regular-season finale in Philadelphia and looming postseason berth to prepare for, but the status of Damar Hamlin weighs heavy on the hearts of the sports world. That's where coach Brian Daboll began and spent the majority of his Wednesday press conference, considering his ties to the Buffalo Bills organization along with numerous coaches and players in the Giants' facility. Hamlin, a safety, is a sixth-round draft pick in 2021, Joe Schoen's final year as the Bills' assistant general manager.

"So, I'll just start out on behalf of our organization, myself, Joe, the players, some of the coaches, some of the staff members – a lot of us have been around Damar. We offer our prayers to him, his family, to the people in that organization," Daboll said. "They've been through a lot, and this is tragic. It's tragic to see. I feel for Damar most importantly, his family, but all the players and coaches that are around him every day. He's a tremendous young man, and just pray for recovery. That was tough."

Here is what else Daboll said before Wednesday's practice:

🔹 Daboll had the Giants' medical staff, team psychologist Dr. Lani Lawrence and chaplain Gian Paul Gonzalez address the players today. "We're here for the players. Support staff, coaches, trainers, medical – everybody's here to help the player in any way we can."

🔹 On why he had the medical staff speak: "I just think when a situation like that occurs, it probably weighs heavy on everybody's hearts and minds. I just kind of let the medical – again, I'm not going to go into what was talked about in the meeting. I hope you guys can respect that. But I just thought that was important for those three individuals to speak."

🔹 Coaches are always concerned about the mindset of players, especially after something tragic, but that's why Daboll has "confidence in the people in our building. That's what we're all here for."

🔹 Daboll said the outpouring of support has been "amazing" and "incredible" to see. "And that's a testament to everybody around the country that watched it, or maybe heard about it or saw it."

🔹 Is it difficult to go back to work? "It's been difficult the last couple days. This is a relationship business, and when something like that happens to people that mean a lot to you – or even if you don't know them, you have just a great amount of respect for (them) – it really doesn't matter what job you do. But having been around the young man, I know him. I know the type of person he is. Yeah, it's tough."

GM Joe Schoen
Laura Young Director of Coaching Operations
Head Coach Brian Daboll

🔹 Daboll was asked if any players have told him they don't feel up to playing this week. He said no.

🔹 Daboll said he and Schoen have talked to people within the Bills organization. "I talked to – I'm not going to get into everybody I talked to – but I've talked to a lot of people there. Just offered my support, not that I can do much. Those people, I'd say, mean a lot. I don't want to speak for Joe, but I know it does. They mean a lot to both of us. I know there's a lot of people in the building, the players, the staff, the trainers – thank God for them – you build relationships. Being there for four years, I have a ton of respect for the people in that building. Just really a call for support."

🔹 On Monday, Daboll said they'll do what's best for the team regarding whether or not they will rest players on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Giants are locked into the sixth seed, while the Eagles are fighting for the NFC East crown and top spot in the NFC. Today, he said they will see how the week plays out before likely making a decision in their Friday night meeting, where playing time is finalized.

🔹 On the injury front, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari and center Jon Feliciano did not practice today. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson will do "a little bit more" than last week. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence got his usual veteran rest day.

🔹 Ojulari was limited heading into last week's playoff-clinching victory over the Colts due to an ankle injury and played just seven defensive snaps. "He toughed it out. He went; he played. We took him out of there after those reps. Hopefully we can get him healthy as we can here the next couple of weeks."

View photos from practice as the Giants get ready for their regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.


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