Tua Tagovailoa says injury concerns are part of football: ‘I’m not playing badminton’

Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was once considered the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2020 draft, but the emergence of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow plus Tagovailoa’s injury concerns have left his stock in flux. He suffered a dislocated hip back in November, and NFL teams appear to have legitimate concern about whether he has fully recovered and whether he will be able to take hits without getting hurt at the next level.

While Tagovailoa’s camp reported that a voluntary medical recheck facilitated by an independent doctor yielded “overwhelmingly positive” results, most teams would rather check him out themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into the draft process, and it could end up hurting prospects like Tagovailoa. 

On Friday night, Tagovailoa went on Instagram Live with former offensive coordinator and current University of Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, and he addressed the injury concerns many teams have about him.

“I’m not playing badminton. I’m not on the swim team,” Tagovailoa said, via ESPN. “[Football] is a physical sport. You’re gonna get hurt. That just comes with it. And it was just very unfortunate that I got hurt every season. …

“It’s a part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I can only control what I can control. I can’t control that.”

Along with the serious hip injury, Tagovailoa also fractured an index finger, sprained his right knee and suffered bilateral ankle injuries during his time in Tuscaloosa. Earlier this week, he conducted a private, virtual workout with 55 scripted throws and another 20 throws in a dynamic drill setting that was to be considered his pro day. Tagovailoa told Locksley that he felt the workout went great. 

“I’ll play for whoever takes me,” Tagovailoa said. “I just want to play, man. It doesn’t matter what organization I go to, man. I just want to play. I look forward to playing under any organization that is willing to take a chance on me.”

Tagovailoa will be a first-round pick in a couple of weeks, but how long he will have to wait to hear his name called is still up in the air. A team could trade with the Washington Redskins to acquire the No. 2 overall pick and select him, or he could fall to No. 5, where the Miami Dolphins currently sit. There’s also the possibility that he could fall even further than that, but there will be a team ready to take a shot on Tagovailoa.

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