NFL draft: Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa talked to Bo Jackson about his hip injury

Bo knows ... hips?

In the immediate aftermath of the season-ending hip injury that Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered against Mississippi State, Twitter doctors (and other non-MDs the world around) immediately connected it to the NFL career-ending one suffered in 1991 by former Raiders running back Bo Jackson.

Never mind that there were clear differences between them, but it is true that both players suffered excruciating hip dislocations while playing football, so it’s understandable how they might be linked. And it turns out that the two of them have linked up to talk about their situations since Tagovailoa got hurt.

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Tagovailoa spoke to Alabama media on Thursday for the first time as a group since he suffered the injury and has begun the process of rehabilitation as he ponder his next move — declare for the 2020 NFL draft or take another path.

One takeaway from Thursday was that he admitted it would be tough to turn down a spot in the top 10 or 15 picks. (We placed Tagovailoa in the top five for our 2020 mock draft this week while admitting that no one really knows where he’ll end up right now — or if he’ll even declare.)

But there really wasn’t much of a change in his overall message of not knowing what he’ll end up doing between now and Jan. 20, which is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2020 draft. As we wrote earlier this week, it certainly feels as if Tagovailoa is seeking some requited love from NFL teams, hoping he can get them to give his camp some information before he makes a call on coming out.

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (pictured) and Auburn legend Bo Jackson chatted last week prior to the Iron Bowl about their respetive hip injuries. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (pictured) and Auburn legend Bo Jackson chatted last week prior to the Iron Bowl about their respetive hip injuries. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

But another interesting nugget was that Jackson and Tagovailoa got to connect prior to last week’s Iron Bowl.

Jackson, of course, was a legend at Auburn. Tagovailoa is one of the most decorated quarterbacks ever at Bama. Technically, they’re rivals. But they share a bond now — one neither enjoyed, we suspect, in the form of a rare and serious injury.

Tagovailoa said they chatted prior to last Saturday’s game, and Jackson gave him some basic but important advice.

“He gave me some insight on not trying to rush the process to get back,” Tagovailoa said.

Tagovailoa also made sure to note that their injuries “were two totally different situations,” and he’s right. Jackson was diagnosed with avascular necrosis — decay of bone tissue from interruption of the blood supply — of the hip joint. That’s not something Tagovailoa had had to worry about that we know of.

“[It was a] good conversation,” he said, “looking at longevity of playing.”

Tagovailoa added that he’s “not trying to rush the process” and is “just trying to get back.”

Of course, when media saw Jackson last week at the game, he was coy about talking to Tua. They take that Iron Bowl stuff pretty seriously down there, after all.

NFL teams, should Tagovailoa declare, will want to know how that process is going. The biggest problem is that the timetable to declare for this cycle in January comes well before any of the league’s physicians will be able to give him a full examination and make their own determinations.

But Tagovailoa appears to have a kindred spirit in Jackson, even if they went to schools that supposedly hate each other. Here’s hoping they stay in touch.

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