Was Brian Flores forced to tank for Tua?
During the 2019 season, Tank for Tua was a slogan uttered by fans throughout South Florida, from Miami Gardens to Homestead.
Think back to the 2019 College Football season. Sure, Joe Burrow went No. 1, but no one recognized the former LSU quarterback as a serious prospect until after his performance against Alabama. Tua was nearly a unanimous favorite to become the first quarterback off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft. For a while, it appeared it would happen.
Tua got hurt, opening up the floor to Burrow — he took full advantage, but he wasn’t the only one. Oregon’s Justin Herbert entered the conversation as QB2 as Tua continued to heal from a catastrophic hip injury.
Yet Flores had the pressure of losing games for someone he didn’t want to begin with — now he was hurt.
In the NFL, the Fins turned things around, and the Bengals continued to lose. Flores won more games than many predicted, erasing any chance they had at the No. 1 overall pick, creating a bigger problem. They had no shot at Burrow, Tua was hurt, and Justin Herbert was a potential star.
Reports surfaced alleging Flores’ desire to draft Justin Herbert instead of Tua. On the flip side, GM Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross still wanted Tua who fell into their laps.
You didn’t have to read reports to see Brian Flores’ noncommittal stance against Tua. Here’s the crazy part. Tua’s rookie season was supposed to be a redshirt season. For a while, it was. Ryan Fitzpatrick held it down for Flores, who had his team fighting for a playoff spot.