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Buccaneers' Tom Brady Won't Be Disciplined by NFL in Dolphins Tampering Probe

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

AP Photo/Matt Patterson, File

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady won't face NFL discipline related to the Miami Dolphins' "impermissible communications" with him from 2019 through earlier this offseason.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN's Jenna Laine that Brady, who was a member of the New England Patriots when the conversations began, isn't under investigation.

The league announced Tuesday the Dolphins were stripped of their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 fourth-round pick after a review of the Brady tampering as well as former head coach Brian Flores' allegations that team owner Stephen Ross pushed the staff to tank in 2019.

Ross was fined $1.5 million and is suspended through Oct. 17. Bruce Beal, the team's vice-chairman, was fined $500,000 and is banned from league meetings throughout the 2022 season.

The NFL said it determined the Dolphins "did not intentionally lose games" in 2019.

What happened between Brady and the Dolphins started to enter the spotlight in April, shortly after the future Hall of Fame quarterback reversed his retirement decision after six weeks to rejoin the Bucs' active roster.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported that Miami reached out to the seven-time Super Bowl champion this offseason to initially join the organization in an executive role while it also attempted to attract longtime New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

While Brady would begin in a front-office position, the plan called for the Dolphins to wait for the Buccaneers to find a new quarterback and then work on compensation that would allow Brady to return as leader of the team's offense, per Volin.

Flores' lawsuit featuring the allegations of racial discrimination against the Dolphins and other NFL teams stopped the plan in its tracks, according to Volin.

He also discussed the calls for tanking from the top of the franchise.

"Take a flight, go on vacation, I'll give you $100,000 per loss—those were his exact words," Flores said in reference to Ross on ESPN's Get Up in February. "I deal in truth; I tell the players this, as well. I'm gonna give you good news, bad news—but it's going to be honest."

The NFL didn't deny those types of conversations took place: "On a number of occasions during the 2019 season, Mr. Ross expressed his belief that the Dolphins' position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team's win-loss record." However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell credited Flores for still trying to win games.

"The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect Coach Flores' commitment to win and the Dolphins competed to win every game," Goodell said. "Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of draft position to affect his commitment to win throughout the season."

What the NFL's announcement doesn't reveal is the extent to which Brady and/or Payton expressed interest in joining the Dolphins this offseason, or what type of discussions were had between the quarterback and the team in 2019 or 2020.

All that's stated is the discussions were held between Brady and Beal, who proceeded to keep other members of the Miami front office informed of the details.

Brady, 44, left the Patriots following the 2019 season. He signed with the Bucs in March 2020 and guided the team to a Super Bowl title in his first year with the team.

He's scheduled to become a free agent once again after the 2022 campaign.

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