It’s hard to imagine Tua Tagovailoa playing on Sunday

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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Sixteen days ago, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered at least his second concussion of the year. He has yet to be cleared to play.

Five days from a playoff game in Buffalo, it remains to be seen whether he will be.

Frankly, it’s hard to see it happening. Tagovailoa has become the unwitting face and name most associated with head trauma in pro football. During the 2022 season, he has had two, maybe three, head injuries that have occurred when his head struck the turf. Every time he plays, there’s a real chance it will happen again.

Tua technically will be able to play after he’s cleared under the five-step return to play protocol. At this point, what responsible doctor will sign off on letting Tua play again? And what kind of messages could they be getting from a broader football power structure that is still reeling from the horrifying on-field cardiac arrest suffered by Bills safety Damar Hamlin?

At this point, the last thing the NFL needs is another serious on-field injury. Tua provided exactly that, in Week Four against the Bengals.

Ultimately, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross makes the call on whether Tua does or doesn’t play. Some think he should have kept Tua from playing on that fateful night in Cincinnati, four days after Tua struck his head on the ground and clearly wobbled before inexplicably being cleared to return to a game against the Bills.

Even if the doctors clear Tua to play against Buffalo, Ross has to sign off on it. It’s hard to imagine Ross letting it happen.

It’s also hard to imagine Ross not thinking once again about whether there’s a better short- and long-term answer at quarterback than Tua, someone who can and will avoid suffering head injuries.

Is that fair? Is that right? It’s frankly no different from being not strong enough or not fast enough or not skilled enough or too old or two expensive or too whatever to play in the NFL. Tua is too susceptible to concussions, and that could be the thing that causes his NFL opportunities to evaporate well before his skills would have otherwise diminished.

87 responses to “It’s hard to imagine Tua Tagovailoa playing on Sunday

  1. Tua plays. Fins pull off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. 32-29. Bring on the KC Chiefs baby!!

  2. I don’t think I have ever seen any NFL player fall worse, ever. Every single time he gets tackled it’s like watching a toddler fall, it looks so unathletic. All 3 of his concussions come from him falling backwards with a stiff body and his hands in the air landing directly on the back of his head.

  3. Hamlin and Tua are completely unrelated. The player has the information and if cleared has every right to decide for himself. If he is refused to get back on the field, the Dolphins should get their pick back for him. A grown man can make his own decisions once cleared.

  4. Ross had nothing to do with week 4 he was suspended until week 6. McDaniel on the other hand did and that’s who you should be looking at for this

  5. All QB’s should be required to have an external pad affixed to the back third of their helmet to offer additional cushion when their heads snap back into the ground. It might look a little funny but done right it would be a huge help in minimizing those types of concussions.

  6. Bill’s fans want Miami’s best in a playoff game, but not at the expense of a player’s health and future mental capacity.

  7. Well, Aaron Rodgers said the Dolphins were a team he’d really like to play for after they won in Miami two weeks ago.

  8. Ross is hell bent on the Payton Brady thing. You could see him doing anything and everything to get both of them. Fire McDaniel, make Tua the backup to Brady for a year then cut Tua after the 4 years. Give Brady a piece of the team. All to get 1 year with the Brady Payton combination.

  9. If he clears, he will Play. The Dolphins know they have no chance without him.
    No reason they can’t declare him fit to play IF he clears protocols.

    Nobody is going to be worried about “optics” on it unless he really is NOT cleared. If he isn’t then that’s a totally different discussion.

  10. Interesting. The pointspread moved today from Buffalo -11 to Buffalo -9, which made me think Tua playing was a possibility.

  11. Tua probably should not play but Ross is 82 years. If Ross is the one who makes the decision it would not shock me if he has Tua play. How many more opportunities does Ross have to see his team in the playoffs? Tua gives the Dolphins their best chance to win. As the father of a daughter who has suffered for years from a concussion as a result of a cheerleading fall in high school I suggest that Tua not play even if Ross wants him to.

  12. I wouldn’t put it past Ross to sign off on such a thing. He’s completely incompetent as an owner. Completely

  13. Tua is a grown man. If he is medically cleared to play, it should be his decision. He’s obviously the Dolphins best option at QB. If the neurologist says he’s over the concussion, and he wants to play, he should play. To quote Rocky Balboa “It ain’t nobody’s right to say no after you earned the right to be what you wanna be or do what you wanna do.”

  14. It’s unfortunate but Tua really needs to consider retiring for his longterm health. The Dolphins and the NFL have failed him badly.

  15. Then it’s hard to imagine the dolphins keeping the score within single digits. They’d have to play ball control, field position & find a way to hold the Bills to the low 20s to even have a shot…good luck with that

  16. Tua is done in the NFL…he just doesn’t know it yet. At this point he is a ‘business risk’ to the NFL.

  17. Tua never had a history of head injuries in HS, college, or his first two seasons in the NFL. It’s unfair to label him as “prone to head injuries” because he suffered them this season. That’s like saying a player who tore his ACL, with no history of having done so in the past, is “prone to tear his ACL”.

    If the doctors clear him to play, and he’s ready to play, let him play.

  18. As a Dolphins fan the most disappointing thing with Tua is you realize you still don’t have a quarterback for the future.

    Dolphin’s GM Grier never met an injured draft pick or free agent he did not fall in love with.

  19. Its just his back. He’ll be fine. Get out there and rub some dirt on it. It’s the playoffs! -Miami medical staff

  20. In stage 3 right now. Stage 4, he can practice. If he gets another concussion, the league loses bigtime.

  21. Injury prone has always been a label. Concussions qnd cardiac arrest are now part of the injury equationwith bith these issues being taken far more serious today than even just 2 months ago.
    It is understandable, when employment and paychecks are at stake, why players hide and push through injuries.

  22. It would be medical malpractice to clear him after he has suffered 3 concussions in 4 months of football, one of which being so traumatic that rendered him in the fencing position.

  23. First of all Ross is one of the most out of touch owners in the entire NFL – he lives & works in NY and rarely shows up for home games!
    He also was the mastermind behind the Tom Brady/Sean Payton tampering fiasco that cost Miami a first round pick. Tua should sit out regardless of his medical clearance because it’s gonna be a painful game for the Fish in frigid Buffalo.

  24. I’d probably let the doctors make the medical decisions. I’d let the scouts make the personnel decisions. I’d let the coaches make the coaching decisions. Ross is the owner, but everybody hates a meddling owner, right? No? We love meddling owners? Now I’m confused.

  25. Does Tua play again, ever? 3 concussions in 1 season, that we know of, might be it. His family should tell him to stop.

  26. At the rate Tua is racking up concussions, he’ll be out of the league long before 30. He seems abnormally prone to them. CTE is no joke.

  27. What does Tua Tagovailoa want?
    If he wants to play, have him sign a waiver excusing the team and league from liability and let him do as he wishes.

    Men and women risk their life’s in service jobs everyday (police, firefighters, etc) knowing the risks of irreparable harm is possible yet, don’t get paid anywhere near what professional athletes do.

  28. Tua hasn’t had a concussion before this season. There’s hundreds of players who’ve had multiple concussions in a season and nobody bats an eye when they return from concussion protocol. If he’s medically cleared he should play and I’m a Bills fan.

  29. If he wants to play and is clear let him play. It should be his call.

  30. Queston:

    How many concussions did Pittsburg Steelers QB
    Kenny Pickett have this year?

    Answer:2 and he suited up the last game
    why the double standard?

  31. If they don’t clear him (I’m not debating if they should), the NFL should give the Dolphins draft compensation in the name of player safety.

  32. “Is that fair? Is that right? It’s frankly no different from being not strong enough or not fast enough or not skilled enough or too old or two expensive or too whatever to play in the NFL”

    I bet this is the first time this has ever been said about a QB that led the NFL in passer rating for the season

  33. The team shouldn’t let outside noise interfere with a players medical chart. That seemed to happen a lot during the pandemic and players were hung out to dry. This is the same thing. If he’s cleared by doctors he should be allowed to play regardless of what anyone thinks on the outside. Kenny Pickett was last seen throwing passes for Pittsburgh and he has the same amount of documented concussions as Tua in 2 less seasons. There wouldn’t be this discussion if the Steelers made the postseason.

  34. Tua has got a raw deal since his hip got ripped out at Bama. Him paying for this with his career is in brand for the poor guy.

  35. This matchup makes me think of the Jacksonville game back in the late 90s. It isn’t going to end well.

  36. The same kind of doctor that cleared Mitch Morris after his 6th concussion? It’s not their job to determine whether or not he should play. It’s their job to diagnose, monitor, and then clear the player. No one would be playing if their feelings were involved.

  37. Just as the kid got himself a good coaching situation and showed some real capability under center. I feel for him but at the same time your brain is your life. Sit out the rest of the season you don’t want to end up a vegetable or worse

  38. Ross is a senile old man and won’t care about Tua’s health……he wants him to play and just wants to win

  39. “It’s hard to imagine Tua Tagovailoa playing on Sunday”

    It’s hard to imagine the fins winning without Tua.

  40. And this is exactly why the Dolphins need to move on from Tua. Because it does not matter what the Doctors say, It does not matter if protocol is followed. The National media will be waiting for the “next” concussion or injury to pounce on the team with the “I told you so or How could you” stories.

  41. I disagree Mike, if a neurological doctor clears him to play then who are any of us to say otherwise?
    Now do I think he should play if cleared? Absolutely NOT. But it is his life to make those decisions. Based on what we know about another Samoan culture player (Junior) that was one of the best to play I think Tua is thinking long and hard about this all.
    Miami has NO chance without Tua, and with Tua its a slim chance.
    Get healthy first TT

  42. If Tua is not allowed to play after three weeks of not playing and being under concussion protocol, then he might as well retire. Has any player ever been under protocol this long? Just because the NFL is scared to play him and concerned about appearances is not reason enough to not play him. let the man play and deal with the outcome. Otherwise, retire!

  43. Dolphins need to trade Tua and multiple draft picks to the Niners for Purdy. Purdy would turn the Dolphins into a Super Bowl team.

  44. Why would an owner care about the very long-term health consequences to a player when he playoffs are on the line?

    I would think almost every owner would rather to a play regardless of what happens to him in 15 or 20 years.

    It’s not the owner it’s a player who should be making the decision

  45. Let me guess… you’re not a doctor but you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  46. As a Dolphins fan I really want Tua to play. But a human this guy needs to take the rest of the offseason to get his head completely right and make sure there are no side affects in the offseason from this years head trauma. The dolphins Mantra- next year were gonna take the next step.

  47. Tua will play.
    The NFL wants good games, and Ross wants a playoff win, or at least a competitive game.
    Without Tua Miami has no chance.

  48. Agree with all points. Brain injury is no joke and Tua already has too many concussions. Not worth the risk in playing him, they don’t have the roster to win the Super Bowl anyway.

  49. It’s a shame the Dolphins potentially sacrificed this young mam’s career/livelihood to keep him in the game against the Bills.

  50. Will the NFL cut a deal with his insurance, give him a nice payout to walk away quietly? There is so much “under the radar” biz that happens in ANY industry. Something along those lines wouldn’t surprise me, then again with big-biz, NOTHING can surprise me.

  51. markeyh says:
    January 11, 2023 at 2:55 am
    Queston:

    How many concussions did Pittsburg Steelers QB
    Kenny Pickett have this year?

    Answer:2 and he suited up the last game
    why the double standard?
    ———————————————————-

    Maybe because head injuries aren’t all the same? Is that really hard to grasp?

    I think we all know that Tua has had at least 3 concussions this season, NOT two. The Dolphins, with their “back injury” nonsense, showed themselves to be a garbage organization. And no, the owner does not get to decide if an injured player plays.

    This goes way beyond Tua at this point, after what happened with Hamlin. The NFL does not want any more high-profile injuries so soon after that. The team should sit Tua and let him heal for next year. OH – and maybe improve the OL. That would help a lot.

  52. Brain injuries are no joke. You can talk about Pickett and other players that came back quick, but Tua had to be taken on a stretcher by ambulance to the hospital after concussion #2 in Cincinatti (only Dolphins fans believe concussion #1 was a ‘back’ injury)

    The fact is the guy has had 3 concussions in a matter of 5 months or so? It’s obvious his head hasnt healed properly. Can you imagine a player going through 4 concussions in ONE football season?

    It’s up to Tua, but he’s still young, and needs to consider his future… both playing in the NFL and life outside. He needs time to properly heal.

  53. 305dolphin says:
    January 11, 2023 at 7:06 am

    And this is exactly why the Dolphins need to move on from Tua. Because it does not matter what the Doctors say, It does not matter if protocol is followed. The National media will be waiting for the “next” concussion or injury to pounce on the team with the “I told you so or How could you” stories.

    Wrong! We should never let the opinions of the national media or journalists influence how we proceed with life. These reporters and journalists are paid to report the facts only, there is no room nor reason we should listen to their opinions unless they have a degree in something other than communication.

  54. perfect72 says:
    January 10, 2023 at 9:08 pm
    Hamlin and Tua are completely unrelated. The player has the information and if cleared has every right to decide for himself. If he is refused to get back on the field, the Dolphins should get their pick back for him. A grown man can make his own decisions once cleared
    ————————————————————————————
    Tha Nino Man says:
    January 11, 2023 at 3:09 am
    If they don’t clear him (I’m not debating if they should), the NFL should give the Dolphins draft compensation in the name of player safety.
    ———————————————————————————
    Why would the Dolphins be entitled to any type of draft compensation of Tua is not medically cleared or won’t play? Players get hurt or won’t play all the time, I don’t think the teams ever get compensation.

  55. The reason why he and Armstead haven’t played last few games is so they will be as healthy as possible for playoff game. Sure they weren’t positive they were going to make it but they played the odds and it will pay off.

  56. This guy should retire. He is a walking MASH unit. Time to move on with you life other than football.

  57. I don’t feel Miami has wrapped Tua in bubble wrap the last month just to unwrap him for a playoff game – McDaniels has taken the brunt of criticism for right or wrong on this concussion business with the GM Grier & owner Ross sitting behind him silent not saying a word to deflect any of it. IMHO Tua will sit & believe he’s done playing for this season playoffs or not.

  58. Interesting. So medical professionals could clear him and the thought is Ross should override that? I dont like the Dolphins so i have no vested interest but i guess we have given up on science with that kind of logic.

  59. Phins need to draft a QB early in the draft. Tua can’t stay healthy. Phins won one game the last 2 years without Tua and they barely beat the Jets without scoring a TD.

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