Stop us if you’ve heard this before:
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was down on the ground in apparent pain during a Dolphins August training camp practice.
Nearly one year to the day after Tannehill tore his ACL scrambling away from pressure, Tannehill took his first real hit of the summer, and for a short moment it scared the heck out of anyone who saw it, Dolphins brass included.
Turns out, Tannehill simply got kicked in the shin when Cameron Wake pushed center Daniel Kilgore back into him during team drills.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
But he needed a moment or two to gather himself, providing a vivid reminder that we’re just a week from Tannehill playing in an NFL game. And unless the pass protection improves markedly between now and then, he can expect to get his uniform dirty.
“I wasn’t sure what happened,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “I just saw a couple of bodies there and it turned out he got some cleats to the shin.”
When asked if this was the first time Tannehill has gone to the ground since suffering the first knee injury in December 2016, Gase responded: “I can’t say for sure but I think there’s been a couple of other times whether it was not this spring but I think last spring and in training camp a couple of times before he got hurt. He kind of got hit a little bit and knocked into the ground.”
Hits to the quarterback are wisely prohibited during practice, but Wednesday’s incident shows that even in controlled environments, crazy things can happen in football.
So even if the offensive line is great this year, Tannehill can expect to get knocked down.
The Dolphins just have to hope he gets up. History suggests he will. Tannehill had never missed an NFL game because of injury before his knee issue, earning a reputation as one of the league’s toughest quarterbacks.
But with no viable long-term starter behind Tannehill this year, the Dolphins cannot afford any more bad luck at the position. If he goes down again in 2018, the Dolphins will almost certainly be drafting his replacement next April.
“I feel great,” Tannehill said when he met with reporters Monday. “I feel great. I was telling somebody the other day, I feel like I’m 25, but 30 just sounds old.”
He added: “I’m not even really sore. I came in pushing myself in the offseason, throwing a lot, getting ready to go. I was actually pleasantly surprised. Day 2, I came out here and I was kind of expecting a little arm soreness just with the increased load. It’s one of those where you expect to be sore or a little tight and it’s not, you’re like, ‘Oh, all right, good. It’s been good so far.’ Hopefully, I hope to keep it that way as we move forward and the load increases even more; but I feel great so far.”