According to a report by ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has a “good chance” to make his season debut in Week 4 during the team’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Hamlin has been a healthy scratch through the first three regular-season contests due to the “number of defensive backs and special teams players on the roster,” per the report.
Pro Bowler Jordan Poyer (one of the two starting safeties) was ruled out for Sunday’s critical AFC East clash on Friday due to a knee injury. Backup safety Taylor Rapp is slated to start in place of Poyer.
The 2021 First-Team All-Pro suffered his injury during Buffalo’s 37-3 over the Washington Commanders in Week 3 and missed the entire week of practice.
Rapp has played in all three games this season but just 23% of the team’s defensive snaps overall. Poyer is second on the Bills in solo tackles (10) and third in combined tackles (14).
If Hamlin plays on Sunday afternoon, it’ll be his first time on the field for a game that counts in the standings since his on-field collapse during the team’s Week 17 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals in January. The 25-year-old played in all three of Buffalo’s preseason games this summer, recording nine solo tackles.
Hamlin, Rapp, veteran safety Micah Hyde and the rest of the Bills defense will be facing their toughest task of the young season when they face Miami. Not only do the Dolphins have two of the fastest (and best) wide receivers in the game in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill but running backs De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert broke out last Sunday with a ridiculous four touchdowns apiece in the team’s 70-20 throttling of the Denver Broncos as well.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has looked like an early MVP candidate and has led the Miami offense to a whopping 130 points in three games thus far (the second-most in NFL history per Getzenberg’s report).
After defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and Broncos to start the year 3-0, the Dolphins now take on their strongest opposing defense to date, even without Poyer.
In perhaps his first real game in what will be 272 days on Sunday, Hamlin has the opportunity to step in a major way.