Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has taken a lot of heat for his role in the Tua Tagovailoa concussion situation.
Although the team doctor and the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant have the final say on whether or not a player has suffered a concussion and if they can safely return to play, some have questioned what role the head coach has in keeping a player on the sideline who was cleared to play despite, in this particular case, his quarterback seen stumbling on the field.
But Michael Irvin isn't one of those people, as the Hall of Famer passionately defended McDaniel on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday.
"One last thing. Because I heard you guys talking about how much responsibility Mike McDaniel has in that situation. And I know ya'll heard me going off on people the other day about that because I thought we were totally out of line with that. Totally out of line going at that coach about that situation. And I heard you guys talking about at what point does Mike McDaniel step in and just say, 'I saw you stumbling and you're not playing.' It's so damn easy for all of us to sit in these seats and say those things [when we're not the ones] that are dealing with those egos and all of those guys in the locker room who are making $40, $50, $60 million themselves who you really can't get cut ... who you don't have dominion over … Tyreek Hill ain't going anywhere. You can't get rid of him no matter what because they gave him too much money. So Mike McDaniel's job now is to be partners with these guys, to get the most out of these guys," Irvin said on Shan and RJ.
"To sit back in this seat and act as if that call he made when he got the information from the doctors was an easy call and he could have said, 'no, he's not playing no matter what.' It's not that easy. There is too much at stake. The man has to rely on the professionals in the field. And he relied on the professionals in that field. When guys go get surgery [it's because the doctor said, 'he needs surgery.']. I didn't know my right knee needed surgery until the doctor told me I needed surgery. Am I to say, 'Doc, forget you,' and go try to play football on a bumass knee? No. I gotta take what the doctors said and go get my knee repaired. That's all I'm saying. We were wrong for doing that [to McDaniel].
"12 years ago, when somebody got hit, knocked out, they went to the bench, they put smelling salts under their nose, and we watched them go back in the game. I did it myself and caught another touchdown after wobbling off of the field. So stop saying you've never seen it before just to make that man look bad."
Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field after he was spun around and slammed on a sack by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou last Thursday. The third-year signal-caller came down on his backside, with his head snapping backward and bouncing off the artificial surface at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.
The incident came just four days after Tua appeared to be out on his feet after similarly banging the back of his head on the turf at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on a late hit by Buffalo Bills linebacker. Tagovailoa was cleared to return to that game, prompting an NFLPA investigation about the handling of the league's concussion protocol.