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Damar Hamlin’s tragic on-the-field collapse before going into cardiac arrest has completely shaken up the sports world. 

MORE: Damar Hamlin’s Family Optimistic As NFL Safety Remains In Critical Condition

Pundits and fans who have followed the sport for years have no idea what to make of such a devastating story. 

One of the more important but nuanced topics surrounding Damar Hamlin was discussed on the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show. 

The show’s co-host Garret Bush brought up Hamlin’s rookie contract and asked some of the tough questions that could make Hamlin’s life even harder if he is able to make a somewhat full recovery. 

“Let’s keep it real, why we don’t talk about the stuff that matters?” said Bush during the show. He [Hamlin] is 24 years old, he’s got a contract for $160,000, that’s his bonus, and he earns $825,000 this year. You say G Bush why are you talking about this man’s money? Well, guess what, he’s been in the league for two years, which means he’s not vested. If he doesn’t play another down in the NFL in his life, he will never get another check from the NFL.”

Damar Hamlin is indeed still on his rookie deal. Since his contract is not guaranteed, there is no sure bet that the league will pay Hamlin if he is never able to play again.

According to Spotrac, in 2021, Damar Hamlin signed a 4-year contract worth $3,640,476.

The contract included a $160,476 signing bonus, $160,476 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $910,119.

In 2022, Hamlin was set to earn a base salary of $825,000, but his injury now means his future paychecks from the NFL may be coming to an end. 

According to CBS, there are very few negotiable items with rookie contracts. 

The salary components of a deal are restricted to signing bonuses, base salary, roster bonuses, reporting bonuses, workout bonuses and select incentives.

In order to get a pension from the NFL, former players must have at least three credited seasons in the league, Hamlin only has two.

Hamlin collapsed on the field on Monday and went into cardiac arrest after making what seemed like a routine tackle. 

He was administered CPR and immediately taken to the hospital.

During a television interview, Hamlin’s uncle gave an update on his condition, telling the reporter that Damar was still on a ventilator but has improved.

“Right now there’s just trying to get him to breathe better, he said. “He’s on a ventilator to help with breathing. They’re trying to get his lungs back to full strength. He was 100% being assisted by the ventilator yesterday and he’s improved, I believe, up to 50%, so that’s definitely an upward trend, and we’re thankful.”

It’s important to remember that once this situation isn’t the biggest media story of the year, let’s not forget about Damar. Let’s also try to hold the NFL accountable for the care Damar may need after he recovers enough to leave the hospital. 

Hamlin may never get to finish his childhood dream, but that doesn’t mean the NFL shouldn’t be there financially. They owe him that much.


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