Tom Brady unexpectedly opted to meet with reporters after his one-drive preseason cameo in Saturday night’s game against the Colts. During his brief remarks, he addressed one of the various elephants herding the room.
“I read all these different stories about all these different places I was supposed to go or could have gone,” Brady said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I was only going to go to one place, which was here. I think this whole organization knows that.”
That contention flies in the face of the facts, as the NFL found them to be. Over four different calendar years, the Dolphins talked to him at a time when the rules prohibited it. They talked to him about playing for the Dolphins. They talked to him about becoming a minority owner of the Dolphins. They talked to him about becoming an executive with the Dolphins. And when he announced his “retirement” on February 1, the filing later that same day of the Brian Flores lawsuit killed the plan that has been described to us as a “done deal”: (1) during Super Bowl week, Brady becomes a limited partner in the Dolphins; (2) not long after that, 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.
“All the conversations that we’ve had over a period of time, I chose the right place for me,” Brady said. “And I’m very proud of the effort everyone’s put in to make the relationship work. Joel [Glazer] has been amazing. Jason [Licht] is a great friend of mine, Bruce [Arians]Todd [Bowles].”
Whether characterized as “alternative facts” or some less diplomatic term, it’s simply not the truth. Indeed, if he never, ever would have 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 Dolphins vice-chair) Bruce Beal kept trying because Brady’s buddy Beal knew there was a reason to try.
Then there’s the fact that, as UFC president Dana White explained it a week ago, the Raiders nearly had Brady under contract in 2020, until former Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden put the kibosh on the move. Brady, who per White was looking for houses in the area, was ready to join the Raiders, not the Bucs.
In fairness 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”? “Sure, I was planning to play for the Dolphins this season, but after Flores filed his lawsuit, that was that”?
He’s saying what he needs to say and doing what he needs to do in order to move on. And in order to get the most out of what likely will be his final NFL season (then again, maybe not), he needs to slam the door on any talk that, deep down, he wanted 2022 to play out very differently than by playing for the Buccaneers.