Tagovailoa hasn’t played since suffering a scary head injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. The Dolphins are surely very happy to have him back, as they lost in Week 5 and 6 without him.
While some believe that the University of Alabama product is returning to action too quickly, Tagovailoa recently defended his decision to return in an interview with NBC Sports’ Maria Taylor.
“We only have a short span of our prime time, if you will,” Tagovailoa said. “And it’s not long. I wanna do good by everyone in this organization.”
The NFL and NFLPA adjust their concussion protocols after Tagovailoa made a quick return to the team’s game in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills following a different scary situation.
Tagovailoa made it clear that he has player safety in mind.
“For me, I’m all for player safety,” he continued. “But for me, I just wanna go out and do good things for my team, help my team win.”
Many believe that the former No. 5 overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft shouldn’t be returning to action just yet. Tagovailoa also recently admitted that he lost consciousness after getting hit against the Bengals.
“I wouldn’t say it was scary for me at the time because there was a point where I was unconscious, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on,” he said. “When I did come to and kind of realized what was going on and what was happening, I didn’t think of anything long term or short term. I was just wondering what happened.”
It’s certainly a risk for him to play in Week 7 against the Steelers.
“I think Tua’s putting himself at risk,” said Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neurologist whose career focuses on Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. “That would be my concern. Well, you want your brain to be fully recovered because there’s very good evidence that if you suffer a second injury on top of an unrecovered injury, the consequences can be much more severe.”
Immediately after Tagovailoa was hit against the Bengals, people in the NFL world expressed concern over the fact that he was even playing to begin with. The Dolphins have continued to take a lot of heat in the past few weeks.
However, it seems like the Dolphins and Tagovailoa are confident that he is ready to perform at the highest level once again. So far this season, he has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 1,035 yards, eight touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Miami has gone 3-1 on the season with Tagovailoa as its starting quarterback. It lost the game he was forced out of with the head injury and has dropped its past two contests as well. The Dolphins are currently on the outside looking in on the AFC playoff picture.
Sunday night’s game is a crucial one, and Miami really needs a win to get things back on track. Many certainly believe that Tagovailoa is taking a risk by going out on the field, but it’s pretty clear he feels he’s ready to face that challenge.