Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht says there has been no discussions about quarterback Tom Brady joining the franchise's ownership group.
There have been multiple reports linking Brady to the Miami Dolphins during his brief retirement, including one by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe saying Brady planned to join the Dolphins as a part owner before unretiring and facilitating a trade to Miami.
“I make of it as chatter, just like you said," Licht said of the rumors.
We may never know the full story behind Brady's blip of a retirement. Volin's report indicated Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL threw a monkey wrench into the Brady-Dolphins marriage. The Dolphins reportedly planned to circumvent the Rooney Rule to hire Sean Payton as their next coach while also working some behind-the-scenes magic to land Brady as their quarterback.
The overwhelming odds are that, if the rumors are true, neither Brady nor Dolphins owner Stephen Ross would publicly admit it. Ross is prominently featured in Flores' lawsuit, including an allegation that he offered incentives to the former coach for tanking.
Brady, for his part, says he came back because he physically still feels he can compete.
"I knew my body, physically, could still do what it could do and obviously I have a love for the game; I think I'll always have a love for the game," Brady told Tom VanHaaren of ESPN. "I do think physically I'll be able to do it. I just felt like there was still a place for me on the field."
There is enough smoke here, via multiple reports, that there was almost certainly something more than meets the eye with Brady's retirement. Maybe it was related to a falling-out with Bruce Arians. Maybe he wanted to pull an Any Given Sunday and shock the world by landing with the Dolphins.
The only person who truly knows Brady's full motivations is Brady himself.