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Damar Hamlin makes first public comments since on-field cardiac arrest

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(CINCINNATI, Ohio) — Damar Hamlin made his first public comments after suffering from cardiac arrest during an NFL game earlier this week.

“When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much,” the Buffalo Bills safety said in an Instagram post on Saturday. “The Love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out.”

“We brung the world back together behind this,” the post continued. “If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!”

Hamlin, 24, was hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After several days on a ventilator, the Buffalo Bills updated on Friday that Hamlin was now breathing on his own and talking to family and doctors.

The team said in an update on Twitter on Saturday that Hamlin is “making continued progress” but “remains in critical condition” at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The team said Hamlin “continues to breathe on his own” and that “his neurological function is excellent.”

Hamlin was able to FaceTime with the Buffalo Bills’ players and team on Friday, saying, “Love you boys.”

“The thing that makes me laugh is — he did this to the guys right away — he flexed,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters Friday about the call. “He flexed on them, I guess. He’s just got some staple things that they know him for and that he does.”

The Bills are set to play their first game since Hamlin’s injury Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Buffalo. McDermott told reporters Thursday that the Bills playing their next scheduled game this weekend is what “Damar would’ve wanted.”

All Bills players will wear “3” jersey patches — Hamlin’s number — in the game, the NFL said.

After Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night, scores of concerned fans showed their support via an online fundraiser created by the young NFL star previously. The fundraiser, which is aimed at helping buy toys for kids in need, has now received more than $8 million in donations.

ABC News’ Victoria Arancio and Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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