New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll might be several years removed from his days of being on staff at the University of Alabama, but that doesn't mean he has fond memories of the young men he came in contact with as a coach.
One such young man is Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered an unfortunate head injury in last night's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, for which he was sent to the hospital as an added precaution.
Daboll and Tagovailoa crossed paths at the University of Alabama during his season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. The two developed a bond as Tagovailoa grew into his role as a quarterback, eventually replacing Jalen Hurts after halftime of the national championship game that season and rallying the Crimson Tide from a 13-0 deficit against Georgia to a 26-23 overtime victory.
"He means a lot to me," Daboll said, showing emotion. "Special kid, great family, and it was tough."
Daboll was careful not to levy any criticism at the Dophins for their handling of Tagovailoa over the last several days.
"I think every decision is different," he said.
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Regardless, Daboll, who said he planned to reach out to his former student-athlete in due course, was clearly and understandably upset over the turn of events involving Tagovailoa.
"I don’t really think about them as players. I know I’m a coach, but I try to think about them--they’re not too far off from my kids," he said. "Anytime a guy gets hurt... just prayers for him, his family, and the people around him.”
Tagovailoa's injury was not only scary looking, given how viciously he was flung to the ground, but it also stirred up questions about the Dolphins' handling of the quarterback following what the team characterized as a back injury on its injury report in a Week 3 win against the Buffalo Bills.
The classification of Tagovailoa's injury has come under fire based on visual evidence suggesting that Tagovailoa may have had his bell rung after he was seen shaking off the cobwebs after getting up from the hit and then stumbling to the ground on his way back to the huddle before trainers came to check on him.
Tagovailoa was evauated for a concussion following that hit and was later cleared to return to the game, having been disagnosed with a back injury.
During last night's game, Tagovailoa was flung to the ground by Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou, a hit from which the quarterback was unable to get up from. He was eventually carted off the field, his head and neck stabilized before being transported via ambulance to a local hospital for additional tests and observations.
Tagovailoa was later released and allowed to travel back to Miami with his teammates.
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