Tagovailoa Injury Yet Another Example of Inept Dolphins Organization

The Dolphins. They could be in deep trouble pretty soon. I know what you’re thinking. What the heck did they do this time? What loophole did they fail miserably at exploiting?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what happened Thursday, September 29, Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins QB, was cleared to play by the team despite every outside doctor calling for him to sit the game out. He, unfortunately, suffered the worst-case scenario and got carried off the field on a stretcher.

Teammates gather around Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after an injury during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati (Photo: Emilee Chinn/AP).

I think right now is a good time to take a long, hard look at the Dolphins organization. Not just because of the Tua situation but because of all the shady backroom shenanigans they’ve gotten up to under Stephen Ross these past few years.

Speaking of Ross, he needs no introduction to Dolphins fans. He may have been the only owner to vote against the moves of the Chargers and Raiders, citing fan loyalty and morals, but he sure hasn’t displayed any of that sentiment in his tenure as the Dolphins’ head honcho. Ross has been revealed to be one of the most incompetent and deviant owners in the sport, down there with figures such as Dean Spanos and Dan Snyder. Let’s dive into Ross’s recent actions.

The last few years, in particular, have been scandal after scandal after scandal. There were inklings of horror in 2019 when Miami put together the most blatant tank job since Sam Hinkey’s process. Despite denying these allegations, they would be brought back into the light last off-season when their promising third-year coach Brian Flores was fired. Even though they started the previous season 1-7, they rebounded, winning 8 of their last 9, but missed the playoffs by a game. During that stretch, they pulled off remarkable upsets of teams like the Ravens, Saints, and Patriots, two of those games being played in primetime. Despite this, the Dolphins chose to cut him loose. There were allegations that Ross and Flores disagreed on personnel decisions, but the damning allegation came after he got fired. Flores claimed that Ross had offered to pay him $100,000 for each game that Miami lost during their 2019 tank bowl season, and was angry when Flores refused. He claimed that since this moment, management had tried to undermine him multiple times, eventually culminating with his firing. This is honestly damning to the organization, even if the allegations turn out not to have been true. However, the big shock wave was still to come.

Over this past summer, a rumor began swirling that Ross had attempted to recruit Tom Brady from the Bucs to play for the Dolphins after using his retirement to get out from under contract. The only problem was that he allegedly did this while Brady was under contract with Tampa, which constitutes illegal tampering. The NFL did an investigation on the matter, and the rabbit hole went even deeper. Not only did Ross tamper with Brady during his Bucs tenure, but he also did so while he was still playing for New England. In addition, it was revealed that the Dolphins owner also tried to lure Sean Payton over to coach Miami, while he was still under contract in New Orleans.

This is a big no-no at the NFL level. They take the integrity of their game seriously, or so they want us to think. The reality is that almost every NFL team does this in some capacity, but the Shield and Roger Goodell needed to make a statement. The Dolphins lost multiple high draft picks for the coming years, and Ross himself was suspended until mid-October and was fined $1.4 million.

This leads us to the current situation. It started in week 3 in the game against Buffalo, when Tua was injured on a hit by linebacker Matt Milano. He hit his head hard on the grass and was pulled from the game and checked by team doctors at halftime. Then, despite stumbling over himself and looking visibly disoriented, he was allowed to start the second half. After the game, the team labeled it a back injury. However, the NFL and football fans everywhere had reason to believe that the Dolphins may have skirted concussion protocol to keep Tua in the game. Despite the launching of an investigation by the NFL, the Dolphins went on saying Tua’s injury was his back and that it was nothing serious.

That brings us to the week four Thursday Night game against the Bengals. Many doctors and outside professionals were calling for Tua not to play due to what they saw as a serious issue. Knowing this, the Dolphins chucked him out there anyway, probably loaded with enough painkillers to put an elephant in a coma. After 3 days’ rest, after a game in over 100 degrees that beat up everyone who played, and after suffering an obvious head injury in said game. That’s not a back issue. That’s a neuro issue.

Unfortunately, Tua was injured again. Another big hit sent him to the turf locked in a fencing position. He couldn’t move his extremities until he was in the hospital. A promising young career may have been thrown away as a result of the Dolphins’ complete neglect of player safety. Sure, they fired the doctor who evaluated Tua as a means of damage control, but at the end of the day, the damage is done, both to Tua and the Dolphins organization. This black eye will now follow the Dolphins, no matter how well they do this season.

This leads me to believe a rather stark theory: That the Dolphins have been doing this for years. Look at all the players that left Miami during or just after the Adam Gase era. Most of them were able to revive their careers elsewhere, some of them making complete turnarounds.

A classic example of this is Ryan Tannehill. In Miami, he struggled with injury after injury, despite having a strong offensive line protecting him. He was good for about 2 or 3 injuries a year that sidelined him, forcing the likes of Matt Moore, Jay Cutler, and Brock Osweiler to fill in for him. Once Tannehill left for Tennessee, he revived his career. Even worse of a look for Miami, he hasn’t missed a game since he replaced Mariota in October of 2019. In Miami, he was often criticized for being too injury-prone, but now I’m wondering how much of that had to do with the Dolphins organization itself. The fortunate thing is that Tannehill never suffered an injury serious enough to warrant any scrutiny of the organization.

And that’s not all, look at Laremy Tunsil. Yes, he’s more infamous for what Houston gave up to bring him in, but he got significantly better after being put into a system that wouldn’t kill him. Look at Jay Ajayi. The dude dealt with stinger after stinger in one year in Miami, then got traded to Philly and was a core contributor when they won the Super Bowl. This is very damning to the Dolphins organization as a whole, and this black eye will follow them around until Stephen Ross sells.

The Dolphins may be doing well on the field, but their off-field actions remain as inept as ever.


Story Archive

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: