Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said Wednesday he considered walking away from football “for a time” after suffering multiple concussions last season.
“I considered it for a time, having sat down with my family, having sat down with my wife and having those kind of conversations, but it will be hard for me to walk away from this game with how old I am,” the 25-year-old told reporters.
“I always dreamed of playing as long as I could to where my son knew exactly what he was watching his dad do. It’s my health. It’s my body. I feel like this is what’s best for me and my family. I love the game of football, if I didn’t, I would have quit a long time [ago].”
Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions last season causing him to miss five games, including the playoffs.
This offseason, Tagovailoa is doing jiu-jitsu training to help him learn how to fall carefully.
“You think [learning how to fall is] easy but just don’t fall and hit your head – but it’s a lot more to it,” he said. “I’ve been thrown airborne. I’ve been put in many uncomfortable positions for me to learn how to fall and try to react throughout those positions that I’m getting, thrown around in.”
Tagovailoa said it wasn’t tough watching his injuries from this past season for his training sessions.
“I want to get better at everything that I can do to help the team win games. I know the biggest one is my health, staying out on the field,” he said.
“I was able to watch that with my jiu-jitsu coach and we were able to kind of relive the scenario in how I got tackled, how I fell – and it wasn’t just one particular game. It was multiple ways that I got taken down and how I could have prevented that.”
Tagovailoa said neurologists told him Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) wasn’t going to be an issue for him and that’s a reason he feels comfortable getting on the field again.
“It’s only when you’re constantly hitting your head against something,” Tagovailoa said. “I think that tailors more towards linebackers, (offensive) linemen, (defensive) linemen, guys that are constantly going at it so that also played into the factor of my decision making and wanting to come back and play.”
The Dolphins exercised Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract in March. He is contracted with the team through the 2024 season.
Tagovailoa will make a fully guaranteed $23.17 million for the 2024 season, according to the NFL.