Tom Brady unexpectedly opted to meet with reporters after his preseason cameo on one disc in Saturday night’s game against the Colts. During his brief remarks, he addressed one of the several elephants tending the room.
“I read all these different stories about all these different places I should or could have gone,” Brady said via JoeBucsFan.com. “I would only go to one place and that was here. I think the whole organization knows that.”
That claim goes against the facts, as the NFL found them. For four different calendar years, the Dolphins spoke to him at a time when the rules forbade it. They talked to him about playing for the dolphins. They talked to him about becoming a minority shareholder in the dolphins. They talked to him about becoming a dolphin supervisor. And when he announced his “retirement” on Feb. 1, filing later that same day of the Brian Flores lawsuit killed the plan described to us as a “deal done”: (1) During Super Bowl week, Brady becomes a limited partner associate in the dolphins; (2) not long after, the Dolphins acquire the rights to coach Sean Payton from the Saints; and (3) eventually the Dolphins acquire the rights to Brady as a player.
“In all the conversations we’ve had over time, I’ve picked the right place for me,” Brady said. “And I’m very proud of the effort everyone has put in to make the relationship work. Joel [Glazer] has been. Jason [Licht] is a good friend of mine, Bruce [Arians]todd [Bowles].”
Whether it’s characterized as “alternative facts” or a less diplomatic term, it’s just not the truth. If he never, ever played for the Dolphins, why did they keep talking to him when he was under contract with other teams?
At some point in 2019, 2020, 2021 or 2022, the Dolphins would have gotten the message, if the message was something along the lines of, “You’re wasting everyone’s time.” Instead, Brady’s good friend (and Vice President of Dolphins) Bruce Beal kept trying because Brady’s friend Beal knew there was a reason to try.
Then there’s the fact that, as UFC president Dana White explained a week ago, the Raiders nearly had Brady under contract in 2020, until former Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden set the kibosh in motion. Brady, who was looking for homes in the area by White, was ready to join the Raiders, not the Bucs.
To be fair to Brady, what else could he have said? “Yeah, I wanted to play for the Raiders two years ago, but Gruden didn’t want me”? “Of course I was going to play for the Dolphins this season, but after Flores filed his lawsuit, that was”?
He says what he has to say and does what he has to do to move on. And to get the most out of what will likely be his last NFL season (but maybe not), he’ll have to slam the door on every conversation that deep down he wanted 2022 to turn out very differently than by playing for the Buccaneers .