Letter to the Mafia Bills, Part III by Deon Dawkins

dear mafia,

1. Honestly, this is different. I’ve written two of these messages before. The first time was after losing to Houston in 2020, and the tagline at the time was pretty simple: Billing just started. The second time was before the playoffs in 2021, and the tagline at the time was also simple: The bills are real. But this time, I’m not going to lie – I don’t have any motto. It’s not about saying something, or about what we’ve done or are going to do or none of that. This time it is just a message I wanted to write to all of you. for my people. It’s a message about how I feel right now.

2. Here’s what I’m going to tell you about our brother, Damar Hamelin. D-Ham…..is One of these guys. Like, there are many types of teammates. There are a lot of different characters. But d important?? he One of these guys. He’s one of those guys who’s easy to like. I remember in his rookie year, we were talking about the clothing line he started, Chasing M’s – he loves fashion. And I said to him, “Man. Don’t ever be on camera without wearing your line. Those cameras.” rolling, no matter what…..no matter how you want to think of it, you are a walking billboard, and you are being watched from all angles. But you control who benefits from that.” It wasn’t a long chat or anything, but since then I’ve always seen him rocking the M gear. And that made an impression on me – because not everyone who gets into this league wants to learn. A lot of young guys think That they were born with answers.Damar, though, is a learner in every sense of the word.Both on and off the field, he is someone who tries to do better in life.

3. I swear the Bengals game was a shootout. It just felt so great to fight, as if you had these two heavyweight boxers about to exchange insane punches. In fact, the truth is, we don’t like them. That’s how we felt going into that match. This is how we feel any A match in our conference with any team that stands in the way of our goal. So this statement-type game was really waiting to happen. And their fans were taken for it – I’ll give them credit for that. The weather was fine, the sky was dark (but with everyone’s cell phones all lit up), they had a “Welcome to the Jungle” on blast…. Strange to say, after what happened, but the energy at the beginning of that night was just perfect. It was from a movie.

4. Want to know what you messed up? the Knowledge You get certain things. Like, if you play soccer long enough….. there are things that are just you knowledge-This is savage. I will give an example. So when the defense is there and we’re sitting on the bench, the O line is sitting on the left – which means we can’t always see what’s going on on the field. Because of that, after a while you start to detect the flow of the game away from its sounds. I also know exactly the sound the stadium makes after a first down, touchdown, sack or turnover or what have you. But the rotten part is that I also know the exact sound a pitch makes after a player is hit. And perhaps even more complicated is that if you add a visual, I will know about it What is the injury – Just how someone is lying in the field. Like moving his feet, or moving his arms, or doing something with his fingers, or is he lying this way, that way, on his stomach and back, and so on. All those movements and things remind me of the injuries I’ve seen before. But I’ll be real: I didn’t Start I saw a player fall like D-Ham fell. None of us had it. We kept hearing, “He’s not breathing. He’s not breathing.” He’s not breathing.

5. One of the images I will always have in my head from that night is of seeing our two head coaches talking. This stood for me. I think it goes back to what I was saying about the Bengals earlier – and I wasn’t lying!! This is enemy territory. But that tells you again how different that is, because once I became what I became with Damar, no one He cares about that other lot anymore. Our coach and their coach got together. Our players and their players have merged together. Not even just mixing it all together. We were bro crying together. Likes, Ugly tears crying. Hard to explain if you didn’t play football…..but to go from where the atmosphere was in that game, just crazy runners, to where we were seconds later with those guys?? This does not happen. Their fans, too, give them a shout out — in their year they switched from “We Hate You” to “We Pray For You.” Maybe that would seem obvious human behavior in that situation, but a lot of behavior might look obvious and human in those situations and then it doesn’t. So I don’t take sensei for granted at all. Greetings to their entire city. Their soccer team can just hang around and see if they see us in the playoffs, but they salute their entire city.

6. I also want the Mafia to know about Sean McDermott. It’s not that he wasn’t respected before, because he did. But the way he carried himself through D-Ham’s ordeal? He has my respect forever. You have to understand: When we got to our locker room, no one knew what It was happening. Nobody was talking…. It was just crying and silence. And it almost had to be, because if anyone said what he was thinking, it would probably have been: “Only our man Die On the field.” But at the same time, it’s still ingrained in football culture to act a certain way. Your focus is on the No. 1 seed. But then there’s this other part of you that’s shocked and terrified, because they pulled a dead body off the field, and it’s your brother.So it’s like those two wires crossed – and I think a lot of guys felt that without even knowing it. But McDermott stepped up, man, he did. He got ahead of the team, and said we’re not playing, period. He said No matter the outcomeWe don’t play. And this may not seem like much, but it is a lot. Because at that time, that permission to be a person. Not a player – a Person. Believe me there is a difference.

7. I didn’t talk much about football in this article, on purpose for several reasons. You can probably all guess them. Mostly, though, I just try to keep it low key. There was enough talking. But the mafia knows what’s right. And what is true: we all are. We’re done waiting, we’re done coming to the King and we’re lost, we’re done knocking on this shit’s door, without an answer, for this damn long time. We keep this run simple. Because – straight up: It’s just football. You know what I’m saying? It’s just football!! And we’re better than those other teams at that, so let’s beat four of them and then give a parade.

8. The funny thing about what we went through last week, is how you guess you’re going to get all these deep thoughts afterward. But the opposite is true. You have these very simple ideas…. You just have more clarity. It’s like you’re sitting there, literally praying to God, and thinking to yourself, Anyone can go at any moment. or, I don’t want my teammate to die. That’s really all you can handle: the things that were always right – only now you need them to be right Very bad. I haven’t talked about this publicly, but during camp last summer, my friend Dayana had a heart attack. She was in california for minor surgery and they had to put her under. But I think her body had a bad reaction to the medication they used, which caused her heart to stop. Fortunately, the doctors were able to get her back on a breathing tube and after a few days in a coma she ended up fine. But it’s the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had—just knowing, like, for a moment she was there gold. For a moment, I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again. Or if my children ever see their mother again. And it was impossible not to take it all back because everything was going on with Damar. Not only was the aspect that was happening in real time, of watching them whack D-Ham’s heart as he prayed to God that he would come out. But also some of those feelings in the bigger picture, about what it means to play this game. Because we can put reassuring feelings into the world…. We can say reassuring things…. We can have reassuring initiatives…. And yes, I can write reassuring articles. But there is no way to color it: that’s what we do f*cking scary. And at the end of the day?? I just wanna go home, man. Just come home safe to my family… that’s pretty much it. So I appreciate all of you for your understanding, and for being forthright here. It is the honor of my life to represent this city, it truly is. We are about to present this our full playoffs. But it doesn’t weigh heavy now – and I’m working on it. See you on Sunday. I love You are. you already shnow.

– Debt

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