Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is once again in concussion protocol after reporting symptoms to head coach Mike McDaniel, who broke the news on Monday.
There was a play in the second quarter during the Dolphins’ loss to the Green Bay Packers in which the left-hander shoveled a pass to tight end Durham Smythe and was tackled from behind, resulting in his head smacking the grass at Hard Rock Stadium on Christmas Day.
Tagovailoa remained in the game, but it wasn’t pretty as he threw three straight interceptions on Miami’s final three drives as the Packers scored 16 unanswered points to win 26-20 on the road and keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s unclear if Tagovailoa underwent concussion tests after the hit.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost their fourth straight game and made things very interesting in the AFC Wild Card race with an 8-7 record now.
But more importantly, the NFL knows what Tagovailoa has gone through this season in terms of concussion protocol.
The Dolphins took on the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, and Tagovailoa slammed his head on the turf much like he did against the Packers and came up wobbling a bit before halftime. Yet, the Dolphins sent him back out there, and they eventually won the game, 21-19.
But just a few days later on “Thursday Night Football,” a scary scene saw Tagovailoa knocked unconscious after a sack by the Cincinnati Bengals and he was stretchered off the field and sent to the hospital.
“Yeah, I remember the entire night up until the point I got tackled,” he said about that hit against the Bengals via Yahoo Sports. “After I got tackled, I don’t remember much from there. Getting carted off, I don’t remember that. But I do remember things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and when I arrived at the hospital.”
The hit to the head was so bad that Tagovailoa’s hands curled up on the field. Many speculated that he should’ve been in concussion protocol after that hit against the Bills. Instead, he practiced like normal leading up to the early game of the week.
The Dolphins claimed the situation that sent Tagovailoa to the locker room against the Bills was due to a back injury.
Tagovailoa would miss the next two games against the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings after his premature exit in Cincinnati, before returning against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 23.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE, said at the time that Tagovailoa should retire from the NFL after watching the hit he sustained against the Bengals.
“If you love your life, if you love your family, you love your kids — if you have kids — it’s time to gallantly walk away,” he said via TMZ Sports. “Go find something else to do.”
Tagovailoa must pass concussion protocol to play against the New England Patriots in a crucial Dolphins game as they look to snap this current skid and solidify a spot in the playoffs.
However, Tagovailoa’s status will be watched very closely given his recent past.
Tagovailoa finished Sunday’s loss to the Packers 16 of 25 for 310 yards, one touchdown and his three interceptions. He surpassed 200 yards in the first half alone after some long completions, including an 84-yard touchdown catch-and-run for Jaylen Waddle.