Former Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa looks bulkier going into OTAs


By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Peyton Davis

Alabama legend Tua Tagovailoa made headlines Wednesday afternoon with his noticeably different physique. It was his first time back at practice since he suffered his third major head injury of the year on their Christmas Day game versus the Packers. Tagovailoa has been a major topic point across the league since he was drafted fifth overall by the Miami Dolphins back in 2020 because of how injuries haunted his college career and continue to plague him in the NFL.

The 25-year-old quarterback obviously wanted to break this trend going into his fourth year as a professional, and it didn’t take long for people across the NFL to notice the changes to his body.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel spoke about how impressed he is with the improvements that Tagovailoa made to his routine and how much he has worked to help himself physically going into the 2023 season.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s followed through with his words as well as any young man I’ve come across in my career,” McDaniel said, “(Tua) had to study some game tape to understand how he is falling, where the impact points are and what we can do to help correct it.”

Along with the weight gain, it was reported by NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe that Tua had begun doing jiu-jitsu training to help him fall more gracefully, which has been something that he has struggled with since his time at Alabama, suffering many lower extremity injuries including the hip dislocation that ended his collegiate career. So, seeing this awareness and willingness to change by Tagovailoa is comforting for everyone given the extensive serious injury history below the waist and above the neck.

Last year, Tua was in the news very often for criticism of the way the league handles their concussion protocol staring with his week three injury vs the Bills last year where he was cleared to return after a scary looking collision with his head hitting the ground and him stumbling as he got up. In the proceeding week, he was cleared to play on Thursday night in Cincinnati versus the Bengals, and he suffered yet another gruesome head injury in the second quarter in front of a national TV audience.

Additionally, Tagovailoa was sporting a new helmet that was recently approved by the league to try and reduce concussions. The Vicis Zero2 Matrix QB is the first quarterback specific helmet designed to prevent concussions specific to quarterbacks. NFL Executive, Jeff Miller said that the helmet performed 7% better in laboratory testing than the most popular helmet worn by quarterbacks last season, and Tagovailoa was the catalyst in the production of this design.

Despite all of the injuries, Tua enjoyed a breakout year in 2022, setting new career marks with 3548 yards passing with 25 touchdowns to only eight interceptions, also leading the league with a 105.5 passer rating and 8.9 yards per attempt in 13 starts. The Dolphins recognize how crucial he is to their success, and keeping him healthy is not only good for the team, but reassuring to all of those that support him. Here’s to hoping the scariest moments are in the past, and that Tua can enjoy a long and healthy NFL career.

Categories: Sports