'Everything's reactionary anyway' – Dolphins HC McDaniel dismissive of criticism about Tagovailoa situation

By Sports Desk October 05, 2022

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is not interested in the widespread negative reaction to the franchise's handling of young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, saying "everything's reactionary anyway".

Tagovailoa has been at the centre of the NFL news cycle the past couple weeks after suffering an ugly concussion in his side's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

It followed an incident the previous week when Tagovailoa was visibly struggling to stand after appearing to hit his head on the ground against the Buffalo Bills, before being cleared to return and lead the Dolphins to the win.

The decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the Bills game was met with stern criticism by concussion experts who believed he was incorrectly evaluated, which was further supported by the firing of that particular independent neurotrauma consultant on the basis that he made mistakes in clearing the 24-year-old.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was vocal about his disappointment in the situation, saying "I've been coaching for 40 years in college and the NFL – I've never seen anything like it before". Meanwhile, legendary New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick shared that he has often withheld players who have been cleared by medical tests for their own safety.

When asked on Wednesday how he felt about the growing chorus of NFL voices speaking out against the Dolphins' handling of the situation, McDaniel was mainly dismissive, saying he does not waste his time reading or listening to football media.

"Everything's reactionary anyway," he said. "So if people want to [give their opinion], whatever.

"If I'm spending time thinking about that, let's say Monday night for five seconds – that's five seconds that I'm not thinking about all the other things that relate to the team and the upcoming game.

"I fully have way too much respect for the game, for everyone involved, for everybody that's counting on me that, I mean, I'm actually the anti-T.O. [Terrell Owens]. 

"You know [the Owens quote] 'talk good about me, talk bad about me, just talk about me' – I'd be cool if no one talked about anything. That's how I've been operating my whole career. 

"But [I'm] fully expecting that they're going to have all sorts of opinions because that's the nature of the beast, that's what happens when you watch it and are fan of it for your entire life. You see it happen over and over, and nothing I guess in that avenue would really surprise me."

McDaniel maintains that there was no way to know Tagovailoa may have suffered an initial concussion against the Bills after numerous discussions with the team's medical personnel.

"[Tagovailoa and I are] talking about high-level football conversations about progressions and defenses and recalling stuff from two weeks previous," he said. "And then him having to reiterate a 15-word play call. 

"All things, absolutely no signs. There was no medical indication, from all resources, that there was anything regarding the head.

"Beyond an eyeball test, which I know for a fact you guys would not be very comfortable if I was just relying on that – I mean, it's the reason why we have tests.

"He did not have a head injury. So guys hit their heads all the time, and that's why I was adamant [that] he was evaluated for having a head injury, and he did not have one."

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