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Tua Tagovailoa Describes His Mindset Before First NFL Start

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 18: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins makes his first completed pass during the second half of their game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Just over 11 months after a career-threatening hip injury suffered against Mississippi State, Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut. One week later, he's set to make his first NFL start for the Miami Dolphins.

On Thursday, Tua spoke to the Miami Herald about his mindset now that he's back from his injury and ready to start. He said that the process has been "a journey" and isn't taking anything for granted as he prepares to play the game at the highest level.

“It’s definitely been a journey,” Tua said. “I definitely think of that injury, when I got hurt, and the process leading up to being able to walk, being able to do football drills, do things in general. I definitely do reflect on that process that I went through. I’m definitely blessed to still be here and be able to play the game I grew up dreaming I’d play.”

The announcement that Tua would get the start has been a surprise to many - including incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tua played a handful of snaps in spot duty in the waning minutes against the Jets in Week 6.

Going from making two passes to starting an entire game feels like a bit of a leap. But at 3-3 on the season, head coach Brian Flores seems ready to see what his first round pick can do.

Tua Tagovailoa put up record setting numbers during his time at Alabama. He was on pace to break countless school records, and may have had Alabama on the cusp of another national championship, were it not for his injury.

But that didn't stop the Dolphins from taking Tua No. 5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. After getting healthy and watching from the sidelines, he returned to the field to a massive applause last week.

The real test will start in Week 8 when the Dolphins return from their bye. Tua will be faced with the LA Rams at home.

He may or may not be ready for the full speed of an NFL game against a good team. But he definitely has the right mindset.

Good luck, Tua!