Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan ripped the Miami Dolphins and coach Mike McDaniel for their handling of Tua Tagovailoa from the time he was injured in the Buffalo Bills game to his scary situation against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ryan, now an analyst for ESPN, said on “Sunday NFL Countdown” that coaches need to protect the players from themselves. He said coaches should ask themselves whether they would put their son back in the game knowing what they saw on the Sunday before Tagovailoa’s injury on Thursday night.
Ryan also said Tagovailoa’s injuries from Week 3 against the Bills were “clearly” from head trauma and not a hyperextended back like the quarterback said it was.
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“This is clearly from head trauma. That’s it, a concussion,” Ryan added. “I know what it looks like. We all know what it looks like. My answer is this, no way in hell I put my son back in that game. No way in hell. And you know what, no way in hell I put somebody else’s back out there either.”
He added that there is enough blame for everyone involved in the situation.
“This is an epic fail. It’s a fail on the coach, too,” he said. “As a coach, you’re the last line of defense. I’m sorry, but I’m not letting that guy back out there.”
Tagovailoa is in concussion protocol after the hit against the Bengals.
DOLPHINS’ MIKE MCDANIEL REITERATES TUA TAGOVAILOA HAD NO PRIOR HEAD INJURY, CALLS INCIDENTS ‘UNRELATED ISSUES’
McDaniel said Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by several layers of medical professionals during his game against the Bills, and he did not have a head injury.
“My job as a coach is here for the players. I take that very serious,” McDaniel said. “And no one else in the building strays from that.”
He added, “There was no medical indication from all resources that there was anything regarding the head. If there would have been, of course, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there.”
Since then, the NFL Players Association reportedly fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Tagovailoa on Sunday against the Bills. The NFL and the NFLPA launched a joint review into the decision by the doctor to clear Tagovailoa and allow him back into the game.
There are three unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants at each game and are jointly paid by the league and the union to work with team physicians to diagnose concussions.
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The NFL and the NFLPA said they made no conclusions about “medical errors or protocol violations” while the investigation is still ongoing. But the two added that “modifications are needed … to enhance player safety.” The said they expected “changes to the (concussion) protocol” to happen “in the coming days based on what has been learned thus far in the review process.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.