Report: Tua Tagovailoa is ‘completely healthy’ and showing signs of growth as a leader

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa’s health could be the single most important factor for the Miami Dolphins this upcoming season, and an ESPN insider has provided an encouraging update on the quarterback.

On Saturday, Jeremy Fowler reported that Tagovailoa is “completely healthy” after multiple concussions last season had him considering retirement. Fowler added that the 25-year-old has become more of a leader this offseason.

“I’ve checked on his health, I was told he’s completely healthy now,” Fowler said. “Not only that, but he’s been working on that Jiu-Jitsu that you’ve heard about; how to fall forward, how to protect his head in the pocket. Well, I was told the Dolphins actually implemented some of those Jiu-Jitsu workouts with their quarterbacks before practices. So, trying to get everybody used to falling down and being able to protect yourselves. I was told Tua is also taking some leadership steps recently. There was a practice where it was a little bit sloppy. He stopped the whole thing, sort of talked to the offense, maybe even laid into them a little bit. I was told that’s something Tua would not have done a couple of years ago, but now he’s a major voice in Miami.”

Tagovailoa was in the NFL’s concussion protocol twice last season, including after he suffered a disturbing hit on Thursday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals in September. He later missed Miami’s final two regular season games due to another concussion and was unable to play in the team’s postseason matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

When Tagovailoa was on the field, he was excellent, coming into his own in his third NFL season and leading the Dolphins to their first playoff appearance since the 2016 campaign. He led the NFL in passer rating at 105.5 among quarterbacks who qualified, becoming the youngest to do so since Dan Marino decades ago.

The Dolphins this offseason exercised the fifth-year contract option for Tagovailoa, ensuring that their franchise quarterback will be signed through the 2024 season. If he can remain healthy, he could be in line for an even bigger payday down the road.

The Dolphins’ offense flourished in its first season under head coach Mike McDaniel, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle giving Miami one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the league.

Miami is seemingly interested in adding running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, which would add even more firepower to the attack.

The Dolphins lost their lone playoff game to the Bills 34-31 last season with Skylar Thompson at quarterback. Given the amount of talent in the AFC East this season, especially at the quarterback position, having Tagovailoa at full strength for the entire season will be imperative if the Dolphins hope to contend in the division.

If he can also add effective leadership skills, Miami may have a legitimate chance to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1984 season.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.