Tee Higgins Says He Spoke to Damar Hamlin's Mom After Game Tackle, Reacts to His Recovery

Higgins made the revelation Thursday following the Bengals' practice.

Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Tee Higgins is speaking out for the first time since he was tackled by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin earlier this week on Monday Night Football, a tackle that sent Hamlin into cardiac arrest.

During a conversation with reporters Thursday in Cincinnati, Higgins said he's been in communication with Hamlin's mom via text message, and he thanked the Hamlin family for their support in the wake of harsh criticism by some who erroneously claimed Higgins lowering his helmet in that tackle resulted in Hamlin's medical emergency. 

"Damar’s mom hit me texting me this morning and told me about everything," Higgins said. "It made me feel even more at home. I really appreciate them. Just hearing from them and them having my back as well. So yeah, it was good."

Higgins said that since Hamlin is improving, then he's "in a good place right now."

"They said everything is OK. He's doing good. So I'm in a good place right now," Higgins said. "Telling me she's thinking of me, praying for me, things like that. She was telling me that he's OK and just all the good positive stuff."

After Hamlin was resuscitated on the field and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Higgins was photographed in the bowels of Paycor Stadium (where the Bengals play) hugging Hamlin's mom before she and the rest of the Hamlin family headed to the hospital, where Hamlin has been treated since arriving Monday.

On Thursday, doctors treating the second-year NFL pro said that he's communicating in writing and moving his hands and feet. The doctors said Hamlin remains "critically ill" and in "critical condition." They noted that while they've seen significant improvement, they'd like to get to the point where Hamlin is breathing on his own and not having to rely on a ventilator.

The doctors also said Hamlin appears neurologically intact, while adding that the 24-year-old has a long way to go from the liberation of the ventilator. The next big milestone, doctors said, would be to see him breathing on his own.

The health update comes one day after Hamlin opened his eyes and held hands with his family.