Hamlin, 25, is healthy after suffering cardiac arrest on Jan. 2 during a regular-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals that was ultimately called off. He has participated fully in practices since early June during OTAs after being physically cleared to return to football in the spring. He also played well in all three preseason games.
The decision is not surprising. Hamlin made the team's roster as a backup safety and special teams contributor, making the decision based on the number of players the team can have active for the game. Fellow backup safety Taylor Rapp, who was signed this offseason, also put together a strong training camp and preseason and the team has defensive back Cam Lewis who is a special teams contributor and can play safety and nickel.
Hamlin, entering his third season after being drafted by the Bills in the sixth round in 2021, is a backup to veteran Micah Hyde, who dealt with a back injury this week, but participated fully over the last two days of the team's week and does not carry an injury designation for the game. Hamlin started 13 games in place of Hyde last season after he suffered a season-ending neck injury.
"You can never take it for granted," Hamlin said on making the 53-man roster at a charity event held in Buffalo last week. "Every year, so many people who don't get the opportunity to make the team that you have to show respect for it when you do and you can never take it for granted because, the NFL, they say it stands for not for long. So, to be able to go through my situation and then be able to come back and still show that I can still do it is super big and it means a lot to me and my family."
This offseason and leading up to the start of the regular season, Hamlin has spent time holding a variety of events to spread education and training of hands-only CPR and giving away AEDs.