Buffalo's Damar Hamlin Named Week 18 NFLPA Community MVP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Before January 2, most knew Damar Hamlin as an emerging, talented safety for the Buffalo Bills. Since that day, when he suffered in-game cardiac arrest, he has received support from all over the world as he embarks on his journey for recovery. Along the way, people have come to know Hamlin for who he really is – a fighter; a devoted family member, friend and teammate; a servant leader who has impacted hundreds of kids in his hometown of Pittsburgh; and now, the Week 18 NFLPA Community MVP.
In honor of Hamlin being named this week’s NFLPA Community MVP, the players union will make a $10,000 donation to his Chasing M’s Foundation, building on the millions of dollars that have been donated by fellow athletes, teams and fans across the country. He will also become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
“On behalf of Damar Hamlin, we’d like to express our sincere gratitude and humility towards the NFLPA community for selecting Damar as a NFLPA Community MVP,” Hamlin’s family said in a statement. “Damar holds firm that leadership is best displayed through servitude, and the community’s generosity will allow Damar to continue serving those in need.”
Hamlin took the first step in putting purpose behind his passion for giving back in December of 2020. While training in hopes of realizing his dream to reach the NFL, the then-University of Pittsburgh standout launched the Chasing M’s Foundation through a GoFundMe page. Its mission was to creating a lasting, positive impact on the Pennsylvania community that helped raise him, with the “M” standing for the “millions” of people, scholarships and ways that he hoped to make an impact.
His initial goal was a humble one – raise $2,500 to go toward an annual Community Toy Drive that would provide gifts for children who had been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the limited time and resources, Hamlin pulled together the first toy drive in 10 days, using donated gifts and clothing to bless kids in the area.
While it took two-plus years to reach his monetary target, and even as his NFL career took him to Buffalo in 2021, that didn’t stop Hamlin from following through with his commitment. This past December marked his third annual Community Toy Drive, once again ensuring that Pittsburgh children in need had a reason to smile for the holidays. Hamlin was on hand, passing out gifts that he had hand selected, taking photos and engaging with his youngest fans in a memorable way. He also hosted back-to-school drives, kids camps and more initiatives through the Chasing M’s Foundation -- all of which is sure to continue in an even bigger way, thanks to hundreds of donations that have poured into his Chasing M’s Foundation over the past week.
The Community MVP campaign is part of the NFLPA’s continued efforts to support the year-round, civic outreach and engagement of its player members. Please visit the NFLPA Community MVP website to learn more about the program.
2022 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 1: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Week 2: Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
Week 3: Cody Davis, New England Patriots
Week 4: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
Week 5: John Metchie III, Houston Texans
Week 6: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
Week 7: Jason Cabinda, Detroit Lions
Week 8: Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins
Week 9: Dalvin Tomlinson, Minnesota Vikings
Week 10: Kelvin Beachum, Arizona Cardinals
Week 11: Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs
Week 12: Jonathan Jones, New England Patriots
Week 13: Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 14: Johnny Hekker, Carolina Panthers
Week 15: Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 16: De'Vondre Campbell, Green Bay Packers
Week 17: Charles Leno Jr., Washington Commanders
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.