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On Monday night, Bengals were told the game will resume in 10 minutes

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze Joe Burrow’s comments about the emotions among the players during Damar Hamlin’s collapse and point to a potential silver lining.

As the Bills and Bengals prepare to resume playing football on Sunday, a question still lingers regarding whether the teams were told that their Week 17 game would resume after appropriate care and attention had been given to Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin.

ESPN said during the broadcast that the game would resume after a five-minute warmup period. NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent has twice disavowed knowledge of any such plan to resume during media conference calls, calling the prospect of continuing the game “ridiculous,” “insensitive,” “inappropriate,” and saying that it “lacked both empathy and compassion” for Damar Hamlin.

So what actually transpired? Per multiple sources who requested anonymity given the sensitive nature of the situation, Bengals players were informed by a member of the officiating crew that the game against the Bills would resume in 10 minutes.

As one source explained it, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow began throwing on the sideline after the Bengals noticed that Bills receiver Stefon Diggs was trying to get his teammates appropriately motivated to continue the game.

As the Bengals prepared to continue to play, it eventually became obvious that would not happen. At least one player heard Bills coach Sean McDermott say that the Bills would not continue, even if it meant forfeiting the game.

The Bengals were willing to accommodate the Bills. One player heard Bengals coach Zac Taylor offer to resume the game on Tuesday. Bengals players generally accepted the prospect of a one-day delay.

But then the Bills left Cincinnati. Multiple Bengals players were confused by that development as it occurred. On one hand, they were sensitive to the situation involving Damar Hamlin. On the other hand, they fully realized the stakes of the game. They wanted to get it played.

Bengals players were in the dark all week about the status of the game. They first heard that the game would be cancelled when the league announced it on Thursday night. Before that, they didn’t know whether they’d play the Ravens on Sunday or the Bills. Some thought they possibly would play the Bills on Thursday night.

For the Bengals, it’s a touchy subject. They understand that a serious health condition occurred. But they also believe that they have been given a raw deal by the league, both by canceling a game they wanted to play and by changing the rules regarding playoff seeding. The Bengals could have secured the No. 1 or No. 2 by beating the Bills. Now, their best-case scenario is No. 2, if they beat the Ravens and if the Bills lose to the Patriots.

Regardless, the truth is that the Bengals initially were told play would indeed resume by the officials responsible for the game. The truth also seems to be that, if the Bengals had known the game wouldn’t be finished at all and that the rules would later change to make it harder for them to realize a favorable playoff seed, they wouldn’t have been quite as accommodating of the Bills.