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Dolphins stress communication with absent Tua Tagovailoa

JEFF ROMANCE/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK
                                Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, in July 2023, in Miami Gardens. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel can deal with an occasional absence from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, even during negotiations toward a long-term contract extension.
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JEFF ROMANCE/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, in July 2023, in Miami Gardens. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel can deal with an occasional absence from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, even during negotiations toward a long-term contract extension.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel can deal with an occasional absence from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, even during negotiations toward a long-term contract extension.

Tagovailoa was excused from today’s team workout after attending Monday. He played in former Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s annual charity golf tournament, a date previously cleared by the Dolphins.

“I think what’s important in the player-coach relationship is communication,” McDaniel said after noting Tagovailoa doesn’t have perfect attendance and has “been here and not been here,” during OTAs.

“I think however things play out, as long as we’re communicating and we’re on our P’s and Q’s in what we need to get accomplished, then we have a fighting chance. It’s been a good exercise in our relationship this offseason.”

This is the final season on the rookie deal Tagovailoa signed, a fifth-year team option worth $23.1 million. But the going rate for plus starters in the NFL is more than double that rate annually.

McDaniel said today he wouldn’t speak for Tagovailoa regarding specific reasons or rationale behind other absences.

The Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa fifth overall in 2020 and he led the NFL with 4,624 passing yards in 2023. He also tallied 29 touchdown passes and largely stayed healthy. For the first time in his pro career, he played all 17 games in the regular season after concussions impacted his 2022 season.

Last summer, Tagovailoa dedicated himself to martial arts in an effort to promote safer landings — thus avoiding head injuries from helmet-to-turf contact. This offseason is all about getting cut, improving agility and being more of a threat outside of the pocket.

McDaniel said Tagovailoa, 26, is down “10 to 15 pounds.”

“The results speak for themselves,” McDaniel said. “He’s svelte.”

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