Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa appears to be putting to rest any lingering questions about his playing future after a season marred by concussions.
The third-year breakout star took to social media on Friday evening to confirm that he's "excited for next season."
The Instagram post comes amid speculation from some fans and pundits who think that the former Alabama star could retire after he suffered two documented concussions -- and probably a third -- during the 2022 season.
Tua, who turns 25 in March, was ruled out for the remainder of the season -- including the Dolphins' loss against the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs -- after suffering his second concussion of the season in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers.
The former No. 5 overall draft pick was also concussed in his team's Week 4 loss against the Bengals in Cincinnati, when he was stretchered off the field. That play came just four days after he appeared to be out on his feet after absorbing a late hit from Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano in Week 3.
In the latter instance, Tua was diagnosed with neck and back soreness rather than a concussion. The subsequent injury in Cincinnati prompted the NFL's concussion protocol to be revised following an investigation to the handling of his injury against the Bills. The updated rule now stipulates that any player displaying gross motor instability, or ataxia, must be automatically ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The concussion saga prompted widespread concern from football fans and analysts, some of which called on Tua to call it a career in order to avert any further head injuries. Among them was Dr. Bennet Omalu, the famed neuropathologist widely credited with first identifying CTE in the brains of athletes and combat veterans.
But retirement never seemed to be a consideration for Tua, who was widely reported to be intent on returning to the gridiron. Earlier this week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Tua would indeed be back for a fourth season.
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