Where EAST meets the Northwest
WEIGHTY DECISION. Tua Tagovailoa said that being assured heíd likely remain a
high National Football League draft pick could make "the biggest decision of my
life" a little easier. The Alabama quarter- back is still weighing his options
and going through rehab for the right hip injury that ended his junior season ó
and potentially his career with the Crimson Tide. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #24 (December 16, 2019), page 7.
NFL or college? Alabamaís Tagovailoa still weighing options
By John Zenor
The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ó Tua Tagovailoa said that being assured heíd likely remain
a high National Football League (NFL) draft pick could make "the biggest
decision of my life" a little easier.
The Alabama quarterback is still weighing his options and going through rehab
for the right hip injury that ended his junior season ó and potentially his
career with the 11th-ranked Crimson Tide. Once regarded as a potential No. 1
overall pick, Tagovailoa said if he feels heíll still be a Top 10 or 15 pick,
that might be too tempting to stick around.
"I think thatíd be tough to pass up," he said, sitting in a chair where the
podium normally rests during Alabama news conferences. "But I think thereís a
lot more to it than that in some aspects."
Tagovailoa stopped there, saying he wants to have that conversation with his
family not reporters.
He walked into the room on crutches, sporting dinosaur-covered red pajama
pants, saying it looked "like a (Nick) Saban press conference" before doing an
impression of his coach. He ended the news conference by telling a reporter he
liked his Christmas sweater.
In between the quips, he discussed his uncertain future and the big decision
of whether to stay in Tuscaloosa or enter the draft.
Tagovailoa was injured when he was dragged down by two Mississippi State
defenders on November 16. He had surgery two days later in Houston.
The quarterback doesnít have a timeline on when he will make that decision,
saying it could come right before the January 20 deadline for underclassmen to
declare for the NFL draft.
"This is probably going to be the biggest decision of my life," Tagovailoa
said. "This is where I seek advice from what I believe and this is where I seek
advice from my parents. But truly at the end of the day, the decision comes down
to me, whether I feel like itís right for me to stay or whether itís right for
me to go.
"Itís just a really, really big decision, and everybody just wants to know.
Thatís what makes it even bigger, Iíd say."
In the meantime, he has started the rehab process in Birmingham, Alabama, and
is getting treatment at Alabamaís athletic facilities while back in class. He
said the medical staff was surprised at how well he did pushing against
resistance with his right leg.
Tagovailoa said he wonít be able to twist his hip as much inward but doesnít
believe that will affect his football ability.
"What the doctors have said is they expect a full recovery, that Iíd be able
to go out there and play football again at 100%," Tagovailoa said. "I just wonít
be able to rotate it internally the same way."
Heís less certain about whether heíll return to football for the 2020 season
or beyond. He pointed out that this isnít a standard, somewhat predictable
football injury and recovery process.
Tagovailoa said he spoke with former Auburn star Bo Jackson ó who had his NFL
career cut short by a hip injury. He said Jackson told him not to rush things,
but Tagovailoa also said the injuries were very different.
"Iíve played hurt many times over the course of the two years that Iíve been
the starter here, but Iíd like to say this is just a totally different
situation," Tagovailoa said. "This is a unique situation. This isnít something
that I can rush. If I want to play to my full potential, I know that I canít
just come back and play on it as if it were my ankle.
"Itís just something that I need to take into consideration. Me wanting to
play, I think a lot of that has to go into my decision-making, too, as to
whether I stay or leave."
Tagovailoa has already set the Alabama record for passing touchdowns with 87
and his 7,442 passing yards ranks third in school history. He watched from the
side- lines as No. 11 Alabama fell 45-48 to rival Auburn, ending the Tideís
"Itís really tough being able to watch your guys be able to go out and play
and not be able to do anything to help them," Tagovailoa said. "The only thing
that I could do is just try to encourage them."
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