Michael Irvin Comes To Defense Of Mike McDaniel Amid Tua Tagovailoa Injury Controversy

Mike McDaniel has been on the receiving end of quite a bit of criticism for his role in the Tua Tagovailoa injury situation. The level of responsibility the Dolphins head coach had in allowing his quarterback to play four days after appearing to suffer a head injury is on the top of everyone's mind.

NFL analyst Michael Irvin, however, doesn't believe anyone should be pointing the finger in McDaniel's direction.


Tagovailoa suffered what the team called a back injury after taking a hard tumble against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. The QB lost his footing multiple times trying to get off the turf after the play, to which social media users playing doctor immediately assumed he had suffered a concussion.

Then, four days later on Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering head and neck injuries.

Michael Irvin Speaks Up For Mike McDaniel

While McDaniel is not a doctor, plenty of people piled on him for allowing Tagovailoa to not only return against the Bills, but also suit up four days later in Cincinnati.

Irvin went against the mob that was piling on McDaniel, and said the criticisms of the head coach have gone too far.

"Everybody was placing this on Coach McDaniel and I thought that was unfair,” Irvin said on ESPN's 'First Take.' “This is a first-year coach who has done an incredible job with the football team by putting players in a position to win and using their gifts and their talents.

"We had a very unfortunate situation (with Tua). For people to start questioning this man’s character, he has nothing in his history that says he has anything, anywhere where he would put someone in harm’s way like this. I thought that was too far. I thought that was wrong. He didn’t make the final decision. I’m glad they got rid of the people that they thought might have made a bad decision or made a mistake in the process of evaluating Tua."

Mike McDaniel Knows Optics Were Bad

Speaking with the media on Friday following Tagovailoa's scary injury, McDaniel admitted the optics were not great.


“The timing of all of it, how things played out, I get the optics, I get exactly what it looks like,” McDaniel said.

“I understand all this and understand people’s concern. But the one thing I can exude with 100 percent conviction is every person in this building had 100 percent the correct process, diligence. That’s why there’s not a player or person that you’d be able to talk to that thinks otherwise.”

Tagovailoa has reportedly passed all of the concussion tests and protocols following the scary situation on Thursday night. But he will not be playing for the Dolphins as they battle the Jets on Sunday.

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Mark covers all sports at OutKick while keeping a close eye on the PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and all other happenings in the world of golf. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before earning his master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. He somehow survived living in Knoxville despite ‘Rocky Top’ being his least favorite song ever written. Before joining OutKick, he wrote for various outlets including SB Nation, The Spun, and BroBible. Mark was also a writer for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2016 when the team won the World Series. He's still waiting for his championship ring to arrive. Follow him on Twitter @itismarkharris.