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Kenny Pickett, Damar Hamlin Brush Off Skirmishes in Bills Win



Kenny Pickett Damar Hamlin

BUFFALO — The Bills won at home 38-3, but that was not the only thing that became apparent throughout the flow of the game. Kenny Pickett and Damar Hamlin kicked off the extra chippiness in the second half after Hamlin hit Pickett while he was attempting to slide. That was only exacerbated when Shaq Lawson hit Pickett low later in the game, and Pickett responded with a push.

Hamlin brushed off the hit. Leading up to the week, Hamlin and Pickett had texted all about playing one another this week. There was no ill intent on his part, and Hamlin had a conversation with Pickett as well to smooth things over. No flag was called, and Hamlin reiterated that Pickett was a friend and he had no ill harm towards Pickett in that play. It was more about football players just playing fast.

“Listen, I told him on the field that he was brother,” Hamlin said. “I wasn’t going to hurt him, I’m not going to play dirty. He knows that. I’m just playing within the lines of the game. If you’re supposed to slide, you’ve to slide.”

Pickett talked it over with Hamlin, and there is nothing that Pickett holds against his former teammate. In fact, those guys are still friends. That is what Pickett wanted to focus on mostly about the play. Rather than rub it home about Hamlin, he chalked it up to the competition.

“Yeah, he’s one of my guys, my really good friends,” Pickett said. “Man, we’re competing, it’s all good.”

Dane Jackson, Bills cornerback and a former teammate of both of the players in college, knows both of them extremely well. He knows all about the moxie that Pickett possesses and the personality that Hamlin carries himself with on and off the field. He did not see it as dirty in the context of the play.

“I mean I just saw that they were both running full speed,” Jackson said. “They just tried to slide at the last second. I know D Ham, he plays full speed, and so he took a shot. He wasn’t trying to hurt him, but football is football.”

James Daniels came to the aid of his quarterback. After Pickett got back to his feet, Daniels decked Hamlin onto the turf. What ensued was chaos and a shoving match that bled into the Bills’ sideline. It resulted in multiple penalties on Pittsburgh, including Daniels. But for Daniels, he had a duty to protect his franchise quarterback, and that is what he ended up doing against Buffalo on Sunday.

“He’s our franchise quarterback,” Daniels said. “I just was shocked there wasn’t a flag. I know there are some other quarterbacks that if that same exact situation happened, would’ve easily thrown the flag. I’m upset there was no flag. But I thought there would be offsetting penalties. I ran to his aid.”

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin thought a flag should have been thrown on the play. Although, Tomlin did make sure to show plenty of respect for Hamlin as a local Pittsburgh product.

The other play, Lawson hit Kenny Pickett low and caused his knee to buckle inward. It was late in the play after Pickett had thrown the ball already. To say the least, he was not happy and a shoving match ensued. Pickett was enraged with the play, and did not take kindly to the entire sequence.

“I gotta watch it again, but in my opinion, he went after my knee,” Pickett said. “And that’s it. Tempers flare and I don’t care. I’m going to keep playing until the last play of the game. That was it. So, all is good with me.”

Tomlin called the response from Kenny Pickett ‘appropriate’ given the situation. As for the Bills, A.J. Epenesa heard the noise about the plays being called dirty. He did not take kindly to the idea that the Steelers thought Buffalo would go after their players and try to hurt them.

“I think it is pretty dirty to shove someone while they’re down,” Epenesa said. “I mean, if things happen between the whistles, it’s legal, right? So, they can say whatever they want.”

The chippiness was likely part frustration and plenty the part of bang-bang plays as well. However, it is always good to see some moxie from the rookie quarterback, even after a disastrous game.


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