Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa finally makes NFL debut, his first game since hip injury at Alabama

Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers fans have had multiple weeks to enjoy their rookie first-round quarterbacks, and Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have done well.

Miami Dolphins fans hadn’t seen any of Tua Tagovailoa, the fifth pick of the NFL draft, and that included a preseason canceled due to the coronavirus. Through five games, Tagovailoa hadn’t taken a snap. Finally on Sunday, it was Tua time.

Tagovailoa entered just before the two-minute warning in a game that the Dolphins led (and won) 24-0 over the New York Jets. Tagovailoa handed off on his first play and then completed both passes he attempted.

For the record, Tagovailoa’s first career completion was to running back Patrick Laird on a rollout to his left. The play gained 2 yards. It was a nicely thrown ball, as was his second pass to Jakeem Grant that got a first down. The Dolphins handed off twice after that and the game was over.

The Dolphins seemed to recognize what the moment meant for Tagovailoa. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins’ starter, waved for the partial crowd to make more noise. Teammates rushed to Tagovailoa after his first completion. It was a long road back for Tagovailoa, whose last football game ended when he suffered a bad hip injury at the University of Alabama.

Tua Tagovailoa throws the ball.
Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut against the Jets. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Tagovailoa called parents on the field

Tagovailoa made sure to take in the moment after the game, too.

He walked back onto the field and sat there by himself for quite some time, and even called his parents out there so they could celebrate with him even though they weren’t in attendance.

“It was a very special moment for me because my parents weren’t here so I wanted to sit close to where we ended our drive at and ended up FaceTiming my parents,” he said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The Dolphins are unlikely to give Tagovailoa extended snaps anytime soon. They want to bring him along slowly, presumably because of his injury.

But at least Dolphins fans finally got to see the quarterback of the future, after a long, long wait.

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