Sixteen days ago, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered at least his second concussion of the year. He has not been cleared to play yet.
With five days until Buffalo’s playoffs, it remains to be seen whether he will play.
Frankly, it’s hard to see it happening. Tagovailoa has become the unwitting face and name most associated with head trauma in professional football. During the 2022 season, he suffered two, maybe three head injuries when his head hit the turf. Every time he plays, there is an opportunity to play again.
Tua is technically ready to play after being cleared under the five-step return-to-play protocol. At this point, what responsible doctor would agree to let Tua play again? What message can they take from a wider football power structure that is still reeling from the horrific 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 that in Week 4 against the Bengals.
Ultimately, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross decides whether Tua will play. Some felt he should have prevented Tua from playing that fateful night in Cincinnati, four days before he hit his head on the ground, visibly shaky, and was inexplicably allowed back into the game against the Bills.
Even if the doctors allow Tua to play against Buffalo, Rose will have to sign. It’s hard to imagine Rose letting that happen.
It’s also hard to imagine Rose not thinking again about whether the quarterback has better short- and long-term answers than Tua, who can and will avoid head injuries.
is this fair right? Frankly, it’s no different than not being strong enough or fast enough or skilled enough or too old or too expensive or too expensive to play in the NFL. Tua is too susceptible to concussions, which may have contributed to his NFL chances disappearing before his skills declined.