Laremy Tunsil didn’t put a percentage on it, but he didn’t have to. There can’t be any doubt the rookie guard is playing in pain because of a shoulder injury.
“I mean, I’m hurting,” Tunsil said Thursday. “I’m hurting bad, but you know I’m going to fight through it. I’m going to give it all I’ve got. At the end of the day, I’m here to help the team any way I can. We’re trying to win games. We’re trying to get to the playoff spot, so whatever I can do, I’m going to help.”
Tunsil missed the San Francisco game but returned to face the Baltimore Ravens wearing a brace and was called for three penalties. Still, his mentor, veteran left tackle Branden Albert, said Tunsil is “one of the best talents in the league” even at 60 percent. And coach Adam Gase credited both linemen for playing hurt.
“A ton of respect for those guys,” Gase said. “I think it’s a tough sport, tough game, and guys have the opportunities to either play tough and play through pain or try to sit out an extra week until they’re healthy. Both those guys really stepped up big.”
The demands on one’s body is a reality of pro football Tunsil has come to accept.
“It’s very demanding and it’s a very long season, coming off a college season where the season actually ends last week,” he said. “And the people who come in here, like the rookies, are not used to that. It’s something you’ve got to adjust to, quick.”
Tunsil has only 10 NFL games’ experience but sounds less like a rookie by the day.
“I don’t feel like a veteran but I feel like I’ve been here for a while,” he said.
It seems like light years ago that Tunsil was drafted in the first round on that bizarre April night. Going back further, to one year ago, he was thinking not about a playoff drive, but a bowl game with Ole Miss.
“We just made it to the Sugar Bowl,” he said. “We had like three weeks off.”
To a guy with a bum shoulder, the notion of three weeks off is as appealing as you’d think.
“Man, it sounds good right now,” Tunsil. “Sounds real good to me.”
Whether it’s from Albert, Gase or coming from the outside, Tunsil knows he has drawn positive reviews, even if he won’t publicly concur.
“I’m a humble guy,” he said. “I don’t like to talk about myself at all. I’m not that type of guy to really just look at my game and say, ‘I’m good at this,’ because as soon as you say that, there’s somebody out there that’s better than you. As soon as you say, ‘Hey, I’m good, I got this,’ you’re messing up again.”