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Tua Tagovailoa appreciative of playing again, focused on staying healthy

Tua Tagovailoa has not played since Christmas Day when he was diagnosed with yet another concussion. The Dolphins quarterback wondered if he might ever play again.

He returns Sunday, 259 days later, to lead the Dolphins.

“I think being appreciative of being able to continue to play,” Tagovailoa said, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “Yeah, the thing with that is, you just never can take it for granted. . . . Some guys have the luxury of finishing whole seasons and other guys as myself, you know, I never had that luxury. So definitely cherishing the opportunity.”

Tagovailoa has never played more than 13 games in a season and has played 36 of a possible 50 games in three years.

“I wouldn’t like to [play a full season]. I would love to do that,” Tagovailoa said. “Oh my gosh, I would love to do that.”

Tagovailoa spent the offseason training in jiu-jitsu, getting stronger, bulking up and working on ways to prevent banging his head on the turf. He also is wearing a new quarterback-specific helmet designed to help reduce concussions.

“You try to prepare yourself for all the things that haven’t gone right for you the previous season,” Tagovailoa said.

Tagovailoa has controlled what he can control. That’s all he can do.

“If I worried about stuff that could possibly happen . . . I’d be spending a lot of time worrying about something that probably, by statistics, didn’t happen,” coach Mike McDaniel said. “I’m very confident because he hasn’t wasted a day in getting ready for the season. That was a huge goal for him. He understands what he means to this football team, and I can tell you honestly that he doesn’t take that for granted.”