INDIANAPOLIS — Former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa figures to have exactly a month to prepare for what will be perhaps the most anticipated pro day workout of the draft season.
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Tagovailoa said on Tuesday at his NFL Scouting Combine press conference that he expects clearance from doctors for full-speed, unlimited workouts on March 9, working toward what will be a personal workout for NFL clubs on April 9. Tagovailoa, one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, fractured his hip in a season-ending injury against Mississippi State in November, and has been rehabilitating it ever since. According to Tagovailoa, he arrived at the hospital for combine medical exams with team doctors at 10 a.m. on Monday and was not finished until 7:49 p.m. as the last player to leave. That’s an extended stretch even for the combine, where a daily crowd of players tends to bottleneck through physical exams — Florida Atlantic TE Harrison Bryant, for instance, said on Tuesday that his hospital trip took just two hours.
Tagovailoa’s hip injury will be scrutinized not only for his readiness to play as a rookie, but also for whether it could affect the length of career. It was the last and most serious of several injuries Tagovailoa sustained over two years as a starter at Alabama.
"Mentally it’s been a grind, but it’s not something that’s new to me. I’ve dealt with a hand injury, my left ankle, my right ankle. So I sort of knew what to expect going through this process, but it’s definitely been a grind," Tagovailoa said.
The former Tide QB said he has been throwing passes while awaiting full medical clearance, but won’t be ready for the Crimson Tide’s pro day event next month. He expects to be able to show NFL clubs any throw or physical drill they’d like to see at his own workout.
He said if the club that drafts him thinks it’s best for him to sit out his first season while being groomed for 2021, he would have no problem with doing so.
"I want to be able to play as a competitor, but a lot of the greats have been mentored by big-time quarterbacks, veteran quarterbacks," Tagovailoa said. "If a team needs me to go out and start for them, I’ll do that. But if they need me to sit behind and learn from him, I can’t see what’s wrong with that."
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