Tagovailoa primed for NFL super-stardome

Watching Miami Dolphins’ rookie Tua Tagovailoa handle himself in the latest Zoom and YouTube broadcasted presser is an affirmation he’s going to be a special player in the NFL.

There is no mistaking the NFL is aware he has the physical tools necessary to be a successful player.

Still, he is handling the transition from the collegiate level to the NFL with the calm demeanor of a seasoned veteran.

This is undoubtedly one intangible quality he will need to deal with the league’s daily rigors and demands.

Tagovailoa, competing for a potential starting role in his rookie year, received an opportunity when presumptive starter Ryan Fitzpatrick abruptly left after learning of his mother passing away.

Tagovailoa received first-team reps in Friday afternoon’s practice.

“I would say that is something pretty difficult,” Tagovailoa said. “I told Fitz that I am here for him and it was something emotional for me too because I started to think about my mom. Though not having a family member gone or losing a family member, it’s hard. Given the circumstances of having to go out with the first group today, it was something that I was nervous too. I feel what Fitz is going through, and I get emotional about it. That is why we pray as a team to let other players know they are in our prayers and our hearts.”

This is the former St. Louis High School standout from Honolulu’s job to lose. It would take a supreme effort for Josh Rosen, who was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, to overhaul the Dolphins’ top investment.

“I think there is a learning curve for me and the rookies,” Tagovailoa said in his presser after practice. “There are a lot of things that we need to clean up on my end, things in general with communication and for me not turning the ball over in certain situations. I have to get better with situational awareness to be down and distant, and I have to continue to study film and go over that after this interview. I’ll probably look at the film and be ready for our meeting with the coaches.”

Lights, camera, action

Filmmaker Ryan Williams is chronicling Tagovailoa in a documentary called “TUA,” which premiers at 4 p.m. on September 6 on Fox.

The docuseries will include some high-octane drama of one of the NFL’s emerging stars.

From overcoming severe injuries, to the rigors of NFL training camp, to his Hawaiian culture and roots, to being the centerpiece of one of the most demanding positions on the most challenging team in college football with the Crimson Tide and to his Twitter flirtation with pop signer Shania Twain, this documentary will give further affirmation to what Hawai’i knows about our island star — he’s a bonafide NFL superstar in the making.

Some advise from Kupuna

The advice Tagovailoa received from his grandfather has served him well as he continues to transition into what appears to be NFL superstardom.

Tagovailoa was told to be a lion, not a gazelle, and he explains the difference.

“It is something that can relate to life in general,” Tagovailoa said. “Both animals wake up and have to run. One is running away from something, and one is always going to chase his goals. I always want to be the one to go chase my goals and do something good for the community. That is something that I can take for life in general. I am always trying to be the best Tua I can be on and off the field.”

He’s undoubtedly a lion, not a gazelle.


Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.


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