Flashback: Ex-NFL Player Tells Anderson Cooper God 'Provides an Answer Through His Son Jesus Christ'


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Retired Super Bowl champion Benjamin Watson said the on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin during a “Monday Night Football” game in January should serve as a reminder that life is precious and can change in an instant.

Hamlin stunned fans when he suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

After on-field treatment by the Bills’ training staff, the 24-year-old was hospitalized in critical condition.

Thankfully, he survived the scary ordeal, and he has even returned to the field this season.

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During a CNN interview Jan. 4, two days after Hamlin’s collapse, Watson said the fact that a world-class athlete in the prime of his life abruptly suffered heart failure is a sobering reminder of how fleeting life is.

“These times bring us face-to-face with our own mortality,” he told host Anderson Cooper. “We all have a day to be born, and we all have a day to die.”

The former New England Patriots tight end said he hoped the tragedy would serve as a wake-up call for those who witnessed the terrifying incident to think about life after death.

“On the flip side with such a tragic event, there is tremendous opportunity,” Watson said.

“Part of my prayers right now, Anderson, is for the players in both of those locker rooms, for the chaplains who I know very well — who are right now counseling and comforting players who saw a brother in a near-death experience and who is still fighting for his life — because the questions about what happens after this life, where will you spend eternity … are coming up for all of us, not just for the football players.

“But thank God that he provides an answer through his son, Jesus Christ.”

The fact that a message like this aired on liberal CNN at a time when deriding Christianity is commonplace and accepted was shocking.

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Watson, a pro-life activist who describes himself as “an outspoken Christian,” received widespread support on social media for openly discussing his faith.

Some commenters agreed with Watson that the Hamlin incident had sparked renewed conversations about God.

When CPR was being administered to Hamlin, players on both teams were seen praying for him on live TV.

The demonstration of faith was seen by millions of viewers: The “Monday Night Football” broadcast in which Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter was the most watched in ESPN’s history.

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