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‘I am the quarterback of this team': Tua Tagovailoa shakes off Deshaun Watson trade speculation

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — He doesn’t have Tuesday circled on his calendar.

His agents better not call with insignificant updates. Because if they do, they’re going straight to voicemail the next time.

And when it comes to whether he feels wanted by the Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa didn’t offer a simple yes or no, but rather, an end-around.

“I don’t not feel wanted,” he said. “That’s what I can say.”

More than anything, Tagovailoa used his midweek media session Wednesday to paint a picture of a quarterback intent on blocking out what he feels he must ignore.

And you know what that is.

Deshaun Watson has been a topic of conversation in New York, where NFL hierarchy was meeting. And Watson is a hot topic in Houston, because the Texans have until the trade deadline Tuesday afternoon to either trade him or wait until the offseason.

“Honestly, I’m not even worried about that,” Tagovailoa said. “I don’t even know when the trade deadline is.”

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Carolina Panthers aren’t expected to pursue Watson for now, which might leave the Dolphins as the only serious suitors. Owner Stephen Ross wouldn’t touch the subject when approached by reporters at the league’s fall meetings. Unlike the case with the Panthers, the Dolphins have not given any indication they’re pulling out of talks with Houston.

MORE: Latest news on Texans QB Deshaun Watson as NFL trade deadline looms

Tagovailoa not waiting for vote of confidence

Tagovailoa said he’s not waiting for the Dolphins to end speculation they’re interested in Watson.

“Honestly, I don’t base my emotions off of who says anything about me or who’s saying what,” Tagovailoa said. “All I can do is my job and do it to the best of my capabilities. Everything else, it’s out of my control. I have the utmost confidence and trust that I am the quarterback of this team.”

His performances of late back that up. Although he threw two costly interceptions in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, Tagovailoa has rebounded after missing three games with a rib injury to complete more passes the past two weeks (65) than any other quarterback. His 620 passing yards and 74.7 completion rate rank third in the NFL over that span.

But Watson is a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who led the league with 4,823 passing yards last season. Teams would be lining up to trade for him if not for the 22 civil suits against him and law enforcement investigating possible sexual misconduct involving massage therapists.

Tagovailoa said the only times he thinks about a possible trade are when a Dolphins communications staffer brings it up or if one of his agents calls.

“It can’t be just like a rumor that’s just I hear it once and you’re calling me because I’m not going to pick up the next five or six times,” Tagovailoa said. “It has to be very much relatable.”

Tua ‘locked in,' Flores says

Tagovailoa already has his hands full with trade speculation. The Dolphins are 1-6 and Sunday face the Bills (4-2) in Buffalo. The Bills already beat Miami 35-0 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Coach Brian Flores described Tagovailoa as being “locked in.”

“I think his psyche is in a good frame of mind,” Flores said. “He’s dealt with a lot the last couple of years with the hip and last year obviously being a COVID season and not having a normal training camp or OTAs. Then this season, with another injury. So he’s dealt with some adversity. He’s overcome it. I think he’s doing a lot of good things and putting us in good positions.”

Flores reiterated his support for Tagovailoa on Wednesday.

“I don’t really pay attention to rumors and hypotheticals and this and that,” Flores said. “Tua is our quarterback. I’ve said that multiple times and I’ve said that to him. … I try to be honest and transparent with our players.”

Tagovailoa isn’t ready to claim the adversity he has faced is over the top.

“I don’t know if I’d ever use the word ‘fair,’ ” he said. “Because really, nothing’s fair. Especially in the life that we live.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Tua Tagovailoa on Deshaun Watson rumors: 'I don't not feel wanted'