Tagovailoa came into the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to a rousing ovation from the crowd in attendance, and players on the sidelines, close to a year after he suffered a potential career-ending hip injury while playing for Alabama on November 16th, 2019.
“That was just a cool moment for him, just the reception from the crowd that was here and us on the sideline” Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
“I definitely could hear it. There’s nothing else playing in the stadium, so I could hear that,” Tagovailoa said of the ovation the fans gave him when he entered the game.
“And that was awesome. But to just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome. And then you have a 16-year vet like Fitz, who has no animosity toward it as well, who’s just been supportive that entire time. Good drive, bad drive, he comes to the sideline and just talks through his process with why he did some things. I’m very fortunate to have a mentor like him who is just very encouraging on the field and then this guy is, like, he’s just very personable off the field as well.”
Following the game, Tua returned to the field in full uniform and sat in the middle of the 15-yard line for about 10 minutes, to reflect on his journey and his milestone.
“The biggest thing that really stands out to me is just being able to make my parents proud,” Tagovailoa said. “Whether that’s Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that’s what brings me the most joy is seeing how happy my parents get and then seeing how happy my family gets, as well, with who I am and also what I do.”