Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hears the noise, and he isn’t holding back how he feels about it.
Displaying some fire off the field, the Tagovailoa clapped back at ESPN’s Ryan Clark about comments he made about the quarterback not being in shape.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back initially started this beef with Tua during a back-and-forth on ESPN’s NFL Live when Clark commented on Tagovailoa’s performance during the Dolphins preseason game against the Houston Texans this past weekend.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa barking back at criticism
While most analysts and commentators keep mentions of athletes on the field and restricted to their performance, Clark took some jabs at Tagovailoa’s weight.
"“Let me tell you what (Tagovailoa) wasn’t doing: He wasn’t in the gym, I’ll bet you that,” Clark said, as transcribed by NFL.com. “He might spend a lot of time in the tattoo parlor. He was not at the dinner table eating what the nutritionist had advised.“He looks happy. He is thick.”"
This type of straight forward commentary is what Clark is known for, but bashing a players weight has even triggered a player who is usually more laid back. Tua was very aware of the comments and battled back with his own words during his session with the media on Wednesday, describing Clark’s comments as odd.
"“I mean, (Clark) probably knows more about me than I know about myself,” Tagovailoa said when asked about Clark’s body shaming. “I don’t know. Ryan’s been out of the league for some time. I don’t know. It’s a little weird when other people are talking about other people when they’re not that person. It was just a little weird.”"
The former No. 5 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft went on to say that his usual respect will go out the window if Clark continues.
As scrappy as he has been known to be on the field, he can be equally as scrappy off the field if someone is disrespecting him. Tua Tagovailoa expressed some of that scrappiness by telling reporters that he would advise Clark to keep his “name out of your mouth.”
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With all the criticism Tua has faced throughout his NFL career so far, this appeared to be the last string. Entering his fourth NFL season, the Dolphins quarterback is out to lead his team to the playoffs and maybe beyond. Facing concussion concerns and now commentary about his physical appearance, Tagovailoa now has more weight on his shoulder.
Well, given Clark’s comments, perhaps that wasn’t the right choice of words. Let’s go with motivation. As one of the more clutch quarterbacks over the last couple of seasons, Tagovailoa has more ammunition to get even better. Now, he must do all his talking on the field, which he usually does.
However, sometimes you must let them know. Ryan Clark now knows he can’t pick on Tagovailoa without him barking back.