Former NFL QB Robert Griffin III, others call Dolphins to sit in Tua Tagovailoa after latest concussion

TECHNOLOGY

By all indications, Tua Tagovailoa is determined to play as many games as he is physically capable of.

When he played, the Dolphins quarterback was in league MVP talk early in the year.

But the 24-year-old has suffered three concussions, and the Dolphins will have to decide whether playing him in the final two weeks of the regular season would harm his overall health.

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Television personality and former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III during an NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.  The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 27-13.

Television personality and former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III during an NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 27-13.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tagovailoa suffered his third concussion in three months during a Christmas Day game against the Packers.

On Monday, Miami coach Mike McDaniel confirmed that Tagovailoa was in concussion protocol. Now, there’s a debate over whether the quarterback should return to center any time soon.

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In September, Tagovailoa suffered a frightening head injury when he was hit hard during a Week 4 game against the Bengals. He was hospitalized and sat out the Dolphins for the next two games. The quarterback later returned to the field in Week 7.

Tagovailoa had suffered another blow four days before the Bengals’ game against the Buffalo Bills. He appeared to show symptoms of a concussion, but was evaluated and remained in the game, sparking league-wide controversy.

The NFL responded by changing its concussion protocol to require that any player who appears to have concussion symptoms be barred from returning to play.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks to pass before San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) forces Tagovailoa to fumble.  Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw recovered and returned it for a touchdown during a game in Santa Clara, California on December 4, 2022.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks to pass before San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) forces Tagovailoa to fumble. Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw recovered and returned it for a touchdown during a game in Santa Clara, California on December 4, 2022.
(AP photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

It’s unclear when exactly Tagovailoa suffered his most recent head injury, but his head hit the grass when he was fouled late in the second quarter in the game against Green Bay.

Tagovailoa said in October that injuries like the one he suffered against the Bengals had more of an impact on those around him than on him personally.

“I would say that kind of thing weighs more on my parents than it does on me, just because I’m their kid,” he said in October. “But, I mean, I just want to go out there and do good — do good for our team, do right for this organization, do right for the guys inside the building that I see every day who work really hard. That’s it. it’s everything. I mean, I like being here. I like all the guys in the building. So when I can’t do something about it and help our team and our organization, that really sucks.

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Several former NFL players took to social media to suggest that the Dolphins shut Tagovailoa out for the final two games of the regular season.

Former defender Robert Griffin III wrote, “Tua’s long-term health is more important than playing again this year.”

Griffin also spoke on the “Monday Night Countdown” and urged Tagovailoa to protect himself.

“I’m more concerned about Tua and his longevity than whether he plays on Sunday,” said Griffin. “Tua shouldn’t play anymore this year. Put the person before the player.”

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins takes the field before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium on December 25, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins takes the field before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium on December 25, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Two-time Super Bowl champion Booger McFarland shared similar sentiments, saying, “Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t play more this season if the NFL is serious about health, safety and concussions.”

Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson suggested that Tagovailoa consider stepping away from football.

“Just watching the news about your…if indeed it is another concussion he has thought long and hard about continuing to play this game again…period,” Woodson wrote on Twitter.

Former Packers running back Gary Ellerson also leaned towards Tagovailoa calling it a career.

In addition to her health concerns, Tagovailoa is at a career crossroads. Despite a hot start to the season and setting career highs this season in virtually every passing stat, the Dolphins have lost their last four games.

The franchise didn’t seem to be completely committed to the quarterback for the future. In August, team owner Stephen Ross was fined by the league for violating its anti-tampering policies in an attempt to sign Tom Brady.

The Dolphins also missed out on a first-round selection in the next year’s draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 draft. Ross was suspended until October 17.

Tagovailoa also had a turbulent relationship with his former manager, Brian Flores.

With Tagovailoa in concussion protocol, veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be putting in first-team replays in practice. The Dolphins have not said whether Tagovailoa will play this weekend if he is medically cleared.

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Miami is ranked 7th in the AFC playoff picture. Winning the final two games of the season would end the franchise’s six-year playoff drought.

The Dolphins end the season with games against the Patriots and Jets.

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