Josh Tupou’s first career sack is the one that injured Tua Tagovailoa: I never intended to hurt him

Josh Tupou waited five years and 44 career games before recording his first sack, but it proved bittersweet for the Bengals defensive tackle.

The hit caused Tua Tagovailoa‘s head to bounce off the turf, leaving the Dolphins quarterback with a brain injury that sent him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for observation. Tagovailoa flew home with his teammates after the game.

“I didn’t realize he was knocked out or had a bad concussion until after I turned back around after I celebrated,” Tupou said Friday, via TheAthletic.com. “I know it wasn’t a good look celebrating while he was down like that the way he was. I never want to hurt nobody in the NFL, especially another Polynesian brother.”

Tupou’s sack changed the momentum with the Dolphins driving, having reached the Cincinnati 40 with 5:57 left in the second quarter. That, though, was overshadowed by Tagovailoa’s injury. Tupou was surprised when he saw Tagovailoa still on the ground after the play.

“I was just trying to get him down off a little roll tackle,” Tupou said, “so that’s why I didn’t realize he was hurt. I didn’t think I threw him back hard enough.”

Tupou, who started in place of the injured DJ Reader, played 64 percent of the defensive snaps. He had three tackles to go with his sack.

“Even though it was a good moment for me, it was a hard moment for him and his family to see him the way he was,” Tupou said. “His health overrides my sack.”