Miami Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa said he definitely heard all the noise and chants when he entered the field for his NFL debut. On Sunday, the Dolphins had a comfortable 24-0 lead over the New York Jets on their home field and Dolphins coach Brian Flores saw it as a perfect opportunity to give Tagovailoa some minutes on the field.
Tagovailoa, who was selected at No. 5 by the Dolphins in this past NFL draft, was greeted with the "Tua" chants when he entered the field with just over two minutes left against the Dolphins. On the field, Tagovailoa completed both of his passing attempts but the Dolphins didn't score points on the drive.
"Yeah, I definitely could hear it. There's nothing else playing in the stadium, so I could hear that," Tagovailoa said, per ESPN. "And that was awesome. But to just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome.
And then you have a 16-year vet like Fitz, who has no animosity toward it, as well, who's just been supportive that entire time. Good drive, bad drive, he comes to the sideline and just talks through his process with why he did some things.
I'm very fortunate to have a mentor like him who is just very encouraging on the field and then this guy is, like, he's just very personable off the field, as well."
Tagovailoa stayed on the field to soak in the moment
After the game, Tagovailoa returned to the field and sat in full uniform for about 10 minutes, soaking in the moment.
"The biggest thing that really stands out to me is just being able to make my parents proud," Tagovailoa said. "Whether that's Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that's what brings me the most joy is seeing how happy my parents get and then seeing how happy my family gets, as well, with who I am and also what I do."
Dolphins coach Flores was happy with how everything worked out. "I know there was some excitement when he went in. I'm happy for Tua," Flores said. Starting Dolphins quarterback Brian Fitzpatrick was happy to see how Tagovailoa was greeted by the fans.
"That was just a cool moment for him, just the reception from the crowd that was here and us on the sideline," Fitzpatrick said.