Tua Tagovailoa on Tuesday said he’s “not too sure” whether he will enter the 2020 NFL Draft or return to Alabama for his senior season after suffering a season-ending hip injury in November.
“You think of risk-reward on coming back, you think of risk-reward on leaving,” Tagovailoa said in an interview with ESPN. “Now is not the time to be making emotional decisions. Now, you have to change into thinking as a businessman. You have to make business decisions.”
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Tagovailoa talked through the pros and cons of both decisions in interviews with ESPN and with The Tuscaloosa News.
“The risk if I stay is obviously, ‘Do I get hurt again?'” Tagovailoa told The Tuscaloosa News. “The reward is that I could come back and have another good year like my sophomore year and elevate myself back to the very top of the (NFL) draft.”
If Tagovailoa leaves, the 6-1 quarterback said he considers himself to have a 50 percent chance of being selected in the first round. He would’ve been a surefire first-rounder before dislocating his hip against Mississippi State in Week 11, and is reluctant to accept the diminished draft positioning.
“Yeah, I’ll be getting paid millions, but a lot of the money I could’ve made (as a higher pick), you can’t make that money up,” he told ESPN. “That’d be me leaving money on the table.”
The deadline to declare for the draft is Jan. 20, but Tagovailoa said he isn’t sure when he’ll reach his final decision.
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Prior to the hip injury, Tagovailoa was recovering from a high ankle sprain that prevented him from practicing fully in the week before facing the Bulldogs. He told The News it was ultimately his decision to play — rather than coach Nick Saban’s — and that the biggest hurdle was a mental one rather than a physical one.
“I hadn’t taken a live rep in practice. I didn’t start (practicing) until Wednesday or Thursday so I didn’t get to work live against the scout team on how (Mississippi State) would blitz, how to set protections, when to be protected,” Tagovailoa said. “But I could move. That wasn’t the issue.
“Coach Saban told me, ‘We will play you if you want to play and if not, we’re not going to be mad.’ So it was really up to me and I chose to play.”