Joe Flacco fully supports Damar Hamlin for NFL Comeback Player of the Year

The NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award has long felt like Damar Hamlin’s to lose — and Joe Flacco doesn’t think the Bills defensive back should.

On Friday, Hamlin — the betting favorite to win the award all season long — received the support of the Browns quarterback who became a candidate for it in his own right with his off-the-couch emergence late in the season to lead the Browns into the playoffs.

Hamlin, one of the finalists for the award, returned to the field in a limited role for the Bills this season after suffering cardiac arrest during a “Monday Night Football” Week 17 game against the Bengals last January.

Hamlin already has won the Pro Football Writers of America’s version of the award for the 2023 season.

He’s up for the Associated Press’ award against Flacco, Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Damar Hamlin returned to appear in five games this season after suffering cardiac arrest on the field last January.

Damar Hamlin returned to appear in five games this season after suffering cardiac arrest on the field last January. Getty Images

Flacco reiterated that he believes Hamlin should win it.

“For sure,” Flacco replied to Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio on Friday when asked if Hamlin should win. “I don’t know how many snaps he played. I just think mentally, to get yourself back to the point where you feel comfortable doing that kind of thing is pretty cool.”

Flacco also said he wasn’t sure what led to his own candidacy.

“I don’t necessarily know what I’m coming back from,” Flacco told Gelb. “I would say most of the guys on that list, I’m not sure what we’re coming back from, so that’s probably my initial reaction.

Flacco, who turned 39 on Jan. 16, was not on an NFL roster to start this season after playing for the Jets in 2022.

The Super Bowl XLVII MVP threw for 1,051 passing yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions last year, completing just 57.6 percent of his passes in five appearances.

Joe Flacco helped lead the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs despite not signing with the team's practice squad until November.

Joe Flacco helped lead the Browns to the playoffs despite not signing with the team’s practice squad until November. Getty Images

Flacco eventually signed onto the Browns’ practice squad on Nov. 20 after they suffered a slew of injuries under center.

He was named the team’s starter ahead of Week 13, filling in for Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the team’s fifth-round pick in 2023 after he suffered a concussion.

Flacco stepped up, throwing for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns, leading the team to the postseason, before falling to the Texans in the wild-card round.

Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills player, warms up before the AFC Wild Card Playoffs game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium.

Damar Hamlin warms up before the Bills’ wild-card win over the Steelers. Getty Images

But Flacco downplayed his chances for the award.

“I’m just coming back from being old and not being on a team for a couple of months.”

Hamlin was a starting safety on the Bills in 2022 and returned to appear in five games this year, recording two tackles in the process.

The defensive back told The Post in November that he was just excited to get his life back after the terrifying moment at the end of last season.

“I’m super thankful to have my normal life back,” Hamlin said. But I’m extremely thankful to be able to continue to compete at the highest level and do what I love to do.”

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