Tua Tagovailoa's MRI Comes Back Clean, Will Not Play Sunday vs Jets

A source close to Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and not affiliated with the team confirmed that Tagovailoa has passed all of the concussion tests and protocols in the aftermath of his scary concussion Thursday night in Cincinnati.

On Monday, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel reported that the MRI on Tua came back clean. He remains in the concussion protocol. McDaniel also announced in his press conference, that Tagovailoa will not play in the next game against the New York Jets.

Also as of Monday, the source said the NFL and the NFLPA had yet to speak with Tagovailoa about the injuries he suffered in back-to-back games. Tagovailoa appeared to have suffered another concussion during the previous game against Buffalo.

NFLPA And NFL In PR Nightmare

The source also indicated that the decision by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to fire the independent neuro trauma consultant who examined Tagovailoa during the previous game against Buffalo. This appeared to be more related to public relations than any matter of substance.

“When he got hurt on Thursday after what happened on Sunday, you knew someone was going to have to pay for that, even if nothing went wrong,” the source said. “The NFL and the NFLPA were looking for a scapegoat and whoever that doctor was, he was going to pay.”

Tagovailoa exhibited what appeared to be a classic loss of balance related to a concussion during the game Sept. 25 against Buffalo. He was injured late in the first half, got up and stumbled to the ground, appearing to be knocked wobbly by a concussion. He returned after halftime to help the Dolphins win. At the time, the team reported that Tagovailoa had suffered a brief back issue.

After Tagovailoa was knocked out of the game Thursday at Cincinnati and briefly convulsed on the field with his hands and fingers contorting, it has been assumed by most people that Tagovailoa was suffering from his second concussion in five days. Many believed that he was rushed back to the field too soon.

On Friday, NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported on Twitter on that the independent neuro trauma specialist who examined Tagovailoa during the earlier game against Buffalo had been fired. Wolfe tweeted that “the NFLPA found the person made several mistakes, per source.” The nature of those mistakes has not been specified.

Other reports have indicated that the specialist was not cooperative in the investigation of the Sept. 25 incident.

Either way, the situation has caused a PR mess for the league and the union. Both sides announced a change in the program on Saturday and expressed serious concern about when or if Tagovailoa will play again this season.

On Monday, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa will not play in the next game against the New York Jets.

Written by
Jason Cole has covered or written about pro football since 1992. He is one of 49 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has served as a selector since 2013. Cole has worked for publications such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Herald, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and started his career with the Peninsula Times-Tribune in Palo Alto. Cole’s five-year investigation of Reggie Bush and the University of Southern California resulted in Bush becoming the only player to ever relinquish his Heisman Trophy and USC losing its 2004 national championship.