Before Tom Brady can take the field in the NFC Wild Card Round against the Dallas Cowboys, his future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turns murkier.
It’s unclear what Brady will do once the 2022 season is over. The possibility of him retiring after the season or moving on to a new team is still very much up for grabs. And one team was thrown back into the Brady rumor mill on Thursday.
The Miami Dolphins enter again.
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The possibility of Brady joining the Dolphins for the 2023 season is «definitely on the table.» pro football talk reported, citing a source with «general knowledge of the various dynamics regarding all things Brady.»
It’s unclear where Tua Tagovailoa would fit into the organization’s plans after another injury-plagued season.
The Dolphins were reportedly one of the teams interested in Brady before he signed with the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season. But Brady’s potential to join the Dolphins increased after the team lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the second round. division of the NFC playoffs.
The plan reportedly involved Brady and head coach Sean Payton joining the organization, but a racial profiling lawsuit by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores derailed the plan.
Brady initially announced his decision to retire from the NFL on the morning of February 1. Brady was to be named the Dolphins’ minority owner the week before the Super Bowl, Pro Football Talk reported. Miami reportedly contacted the New Orleans Saints to obtain the contractual rights for Payton to bring him in as their head coach.
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Miami turning Brady into a high-level team executive would have been the quarterback’s departure from Tampa Bay, the Boston Globe reported. The Dolphins reportedly may have approached the Bucs about a trade for his contractual rights to return and play quarterback during the 2022 season.
Flores’ lawsuit scuttled the plans, according to the Globe.
The Dolphins and team owner Stephen Ross were named in the former head coach’s racial discrimination lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Flores said he was fired because he refused to «tank» for a high draft pick. He also claimed Ross told him he would be compensated for every Dolphins loss and general manager Chris Grier said Ross was «angry» about the team’s wins.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that Ross pressured Flores to draft a «standout quarterback» for the 2020 season and that he was about to meet with that quarterback before pulling out at the last minute. Flores assured since then that the relationship with the organization went downhill.
Flores was released by the Dolphins after the 2021 season.
Brady would eventually decide to come back and play for the Buccaneers after all.
Boston Globe reporter Ben Volin, who reported on the scheme, noted in Podcast «The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz» that Brady never actually used the word «retire» in his opening statement about walking away from the Buccaneers. Brady initially only mentioned Tampa Bay in his statement and was late to thank the New England Patriots.
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He announced his decision to return to the Buccaneers on March 13, a day after watching Manchester United play across the pond. Manchester United and the Buccaneers are owned by the Glazer family.
Brady didn’t exactly deny the flirtation in the offseason.
«I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people, as I’ve had over the last three or four years of my career, about different opportunities when I’m done playing football,» Brady said. «Somehow I made a decision of what I would like to do. I will get to be in the game of football.»
«I think for me, the most important thing is where I am right now. And what I hope to do for this team. That’s been my commitment to this team and the organization and it’s been a lot of fun coming here two years ago.» It’s been almost two and a half years and it’s been an incredible part of my football journey.
«And it’s not over and we have a lot to achieve. I have a long life ahead of me and there are lots of fun things to do ahead of me. I look forward to what’s next in football. But at the same time neither of us is promised much beyond what we have now and this is the current moment and I’m very excited to go out there and try to compete and win a championship.»
In August, the NFL suspended Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross, and the team received two draft picks for inappropriate conversations with Brady and Payton. The NFL issued a memo finalizing its findings following a six-month investigation led by former federal prosecutor and SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White into allegations that the Dolphins violated the league’s anti-manipulation policy following » communications not allowed» with Brady and Payton through their agent between August 2019 and January 2022.
According to the memo, Dolphins vice president and limited partner Bruce Beal spoke with Brady while he was under contract with the Patriots, beginning in August 2019, and again in 2021 when he was under contract with the Buccaneers.
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Ross was kept «in the loop» of those conversations, which included Brady «becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although they sometimes also included the possibility of him playing for the Dolphins,» the NFL revealed. .
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.