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Tua Tagovailoa on Dolphins' Tampering With Brady: 'I Think the Team's All-In With Me'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tua Tagovailoa is not allowing the Miami Dolphins' near-constant flirtation with Tom Brady to bother him.

The Dolphins' starting quarterback believes the organization is "all-in" with him, despite the NFL stripping Miami of two draft picks for tampering with Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.

"I remember I came in in 2020, so whatever happened in 2019, I can't even speak on that. I was here in 2020, and I'm still here, and I'm blessed to be here," Tagovailoa said. "If it has to do with support from the team, I think the team's all-in with me and all the guys that we have now."

The NFL stripped the Dolphins of their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick after an investigation found the team tampered with Brady twice—first in 2019 and then again last season—while he was under contract with other teams. Miami also met with Payton despite the Saints rejecting their overtures and did so before he resigned in New Orleans this offseason.

The investigation was launched amid a lawsuit filed by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, which claimed racial discrimination in the NFL's hiring practices and accused Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of attempting to bribe him to tank for a draft pick. Ross was suspended through Oct. 17 for his part in the tampering probe, but the NFL said it could not corroborate Flores' tanking claim.

The Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft, which came after the team made its first of two overtures toward Brady. The future Hall of Famer chose to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2020 offseason, but Ross did not give up his pursuit and attempted to bring Brady into the fold again for the 2022 season.

Brady briefly retired in February, and there were reports of clandestine plans to have him join the Dolphins as an executive before unretiring and playing with the Dolphins, who planned to bring in Payton as their coach. Flores' lawsuit essentially scuttled any chance of that happening.

The Dolphins quickly pivoted, hiring Mike McDaniel as their head coach and foraging forward with Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback. Tagovailoa may publicly say he believes the team wants him as its franchise signal-caller, but the Dolphins' behind-the-scenes actions say otherwise.

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