Noticeably thinner Tua Tagovailoa shows up for promotional event

His head coach called him “svelte.” He looks downright skinny.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa supposedly loss 10-15 pounds this offseason. Perhaps that’s accurate — in one of his legs.

Via Jenna Lemoncelli of the New York Post, Tagovailoa showed up for an event on Friday looking noticeably thinner.

Click the link and scroll through the photos. Yes, the length of the hair on his hair and lack of hair on his face make him look different. But he looks very, very thin.

Some on social media wondered if it was even him.

He’s officially listed as six-one, 227 pounds. Those photos do not suggest 227 pounds. He might be flirting with dipping under 200 pounds.

There’s a very real balance to strike when it comes to quarterback size. The natural body armor protects a player against the kind of hits he’ll take from much larger defensive players. And while lack of size contributes to speed and elusiveness, no player can run away from every possible hit. And when those hits happen, the extra weight protects the parts of the body that could get injured.

Football is Newtonian physics gone haywire. Bodies flying and colliding and reacting to the forces applied to them. Remember the Week 4 game in 2022? Tua was whipsawed to the ground by a Bengals defender, hard enough that his head snapped back and struck the turf, resulting in a concussion that had Tua taken from the field on a stretcher and transported straight to a local hospital.

Last year, when he was larger than the year before, he made it through 17 regular-season games and a playoff game. This year, there will be an enhanced risk given his reduced mass.

The risk extends beyond the field. Will the Dolphins feel comfortable giving him the kind of contract he’s seeking? He might have to put some of that armor back on his body before training camp opens to make owner Stephen Ross feel comfortable with giving the green light to a long-term deal that approaches market level.

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