Miami Dolphin quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes his training seriously so when ESPN analyst Ryan Clark questioned the shape he is in as the NFL season gets started, he was not in the mood to hear it.
“I mean he probably knows more about me than I know about myself,” Tagovailoa said at a press conference. “It’s a little weird when other people are talking about other people.”
He went on, “I come from a Samoan family where respect is everything. But it does get to a point where — hey, little easy on that, buddy. Because I think we’re pretty tough-minded people, and if we need to get scrappy, we can get scrappy, too.
Clark is not only an analyst for the network, he played defensive back in the NFL for 13 seasons. So, he said, he was speaking from experience when he said he wondered what Tagovailoa was doing during the offseason since he looked heavier.
“Let me tell you what he wasn’t doing — he wasn’t in the gym, I bet you that,” Clark said on ESPN’s “NFL Live” show this week. “He might have spent 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 thick.
Clark went on to say the pro quarterback looked like the women who dance at an Atlanta gentlemen’s club.
Tagovailoa explained that he was working out, hoping to avoid injuries that have plagued him during his career.
“Everything I did this offseason entailed what would keep me on the field for the entirety of the season,” Tagovailoa said. “I’ve just been trying to give myself the best opportunity to hopefully not get injured.”
The Dolphins list Tagovailoa at 227 pounds on their current training camp roster, ESPN reported. He was listed at 217 in last year’s media guide.
Tagovailoa said it was not ice cream sundaes that put on pounds, but workouts to build muscle.
“You think I wanted to build all this muscle? Nah,” Tagovailoa said. “To some extent, I wanted to be a little lighter. There’s a mixture of things that people don’t understand, that people don’t know about that people talk about that go on behind the scenes.
“So, I’d appreciate if you kept my name out your mouth, that’s what I’d say.”
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel backed up Tagovailoa, telling reporters Tuesday, “We are getting the absolute best version of Tua that has existed,” according to NFL Media.
On Thursday, Clark apologized for his comments, saying he was joking and that he had learned a lesson, according to a tweet he posted on X.
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