Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel: Optics not a factor in Tua Tagovailoa concussion situation

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has been highly criticized in the aftermath of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffering a concussion among two head injuries in two games last week.

Among two noteworthy critics: Former NFL coach Rex Ryan said McDaniel epically failed by allowing Tagovailoa to return against the Bills on Sept. 25. And Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who said he was astonished to see Tagovailoa return, and then play four days later against the Bengals on Sept. 29.

Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol as of Wednesday. He won’t play in Miami’s next game Sunday against the New York Jets.

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MILES TO GO: Tua Tagovailoa debacle shows NFL still has long way to go in handling concussions

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel speaks with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 25.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel speaks with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 25.

And the investigation by the NFL and NFL Players Association into the Dolphins’ handling of Tagovailoa's concussion evaluation during the Bills game could come with revelations shared publicly at the end of this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

In the meantime, McDaniel isn’t letting the outside noise affect him personally during his first season as an NFL head coach.

“That would probably be hard, or it would be crumbling,” McDaniel said Wednesday, “if that was coming from within the team or from the people that is my job to service.

“If I’m listening to that or … if I’m spending time thinking about that. let’s say Monday night for five seconds, that’s five seconds I’m not thinking about all the other things that relate to the team and the upcoming game.”

McDaniel was also adamant his Monday announcement ruling Tagovailoa out for the Jets game was based on Tagovailoa’s health and not to appease the optics of the situation that unfolded with his starting quarterback.

“The second I start doing things because I think it’s some answer that somebody else wants, that’s to me, that I’m failing at my job,” McDaniel said. “My job starts and ends with what’s the best thing for the team and everybody involved.”

Tagovailoa has been in the Dolphins’ practice facility for much of this week with McDaniel and his Dolphins teammates saying he’s been like his normal self – since their flight home from Cincinnati.

“I don’t think there’s ever a moment when Tua is down. I just saw him in the locker room and he’s smiling from ear to ear,” Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill said on Monday.

“As far as winning football games, we’re going to do everything we can in our power to win games. We want Tua on the field, but we also understand the magnitude of this situation. His health moving forward is very important to all of us because life is so precious.”

While Tagovailoa has been ruled out of the Jets game, McDaniel did not say yet whether Tagovailoa would travel with the team for the game.

“He’s a captain of this team, and we want him to be present as much as he can, but not at any sort of cost to his process of getting himself healthy and going through that procedure,” McDaniel said.

“I know if he’s able, he’ll be around as much as he can,” McDaniel added. “He already has (fear of missing out), I can feel it.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike McDaniel: Optics noise not a factor in Tua Tagovailoa situation