ESPN Analyst Rob Ninkovich Gets Emotional Recalling Teammate Junior Seau Who Took His Life After Several Concussions

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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ESPN analyst and former Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said Friday he was “disgusted” with the NFL and became emotional while commenting on the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa’s second concussion within a week.

Tagovailoa was carried out on a stretcher during Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after he was knocked to the ground from a tackle. Tagovailoa’s hands appeared to begin contorting.

Days prior, Tagovailoa was removed from a game after hitting his head and falling to the ground in the Dolphins’ 21-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Ninkovich lashed out at the NFL for allowing Tagovailoa back on the field during a panel Friday morning.

“When I watched this last night I was disgusted, in the NFL, in the Dolphins, they should be sick to their stomachs with the protocols in place that have failed Tua. They failed the player, and they’re supposed to be there to protect the player from hurting themselves because the player wants to be on the field, they’ve been doing that their whole life, they’re trying to provide and do things for their family so that can play a game that they love,” Ninkovich said.

Ninkovich then discussed how injuries can lead to severe problems, recounting his former teammate Junior Seau who committed suicide while suffering from brain disease. (RELATED: Former First Round NFL Pick Rashard Anderson Dead At 45)

“I’ve seen too many guys that are going through a lot of stuff, and it’s unfortunate … Junior Seau was my lockermate, he sat next to me, and I had to see things that you don’t wanna see happen to people,” Ninkovich said as he began tearing up. “So I don’t want families to go through it, and you don’t know, you don’t know.”

Seau was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he fatally shot himself in the chest in 2012. His family had his brain sent for studies to determine whether there was a link between the damage he sustained while playing football.