The impact of Tuesday’s news regarding the NFL’s punishment of the Dolphins for tampering with Tom Brady wasn’t limited to just the Miami front office.
Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also has had to deal with the reaction to the news.
An independent investigation, led by by former U.S Attorney and S.E.C. chairperson Mary Jo White, into whether the organization violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game determined that Miami engaged in “impermissible communications” with Brady in 2019-2020 when he was with the Patriots. The investigation also concluded the Dolphins had “impermissible communications” again after the 2021 season when Brady was under contract with the Buccaneers.
The team was also found to have impermissible contact with former Saints coach Sean Payton representatives when Miami attempted to gauge his interest in becoming the Dolphins’ coach early this year.
A hypothetical pairing of Brady and Payton would have rocked the NFL landscape. Instead, it didn’t materialize. Tagovailoa remains as QB1 in Miami, while the organization forfeited two draft picks and owner Stephen Ross was suspended until Oct. 17 following White’s investigation.
The quarterback was asked about the situation on Wednesday.
“I would say everyone heard about it yesterday when we went into the locker room, seen it on the TV,” Tagovailoa said. “For me, I have no idea about all the details other than what was shown on TV with the $1.5 million fine and then something happening with Brady. I mean, I don’t know all the details. I don’t even know what happened. But I got to talk to a couple of the guys to kind of find out what was going on, and everyone’s wondering the same thing. So not too sure.”
The Dolphins’ pursuit of Brady effectively indicated the team wasn’t satisfied with its existing situation at the position, which was, of course, headlined by Tagovailoa.
It’s no secret that Tagovailoa has yet to reach the expectation set for him by the fifth-overall pick the Dolphins spent on him in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s struggled with injuries and consistency, leading to some uncertainty as the window for development continues to shorten in today’s NFL.
Evidently, that uncertainty was enough for the Dolphins to circle back to Brady after last season.
Tagovailoa has certainly been through enough when it comes to public perception of his standing with the Dolphins. For the first nine weeks of the 2021, Tagovailoa was forced to tune out constant rumblings about Miami’s rumored desire to trade for then-Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. He later appeared relieved when the trade deadline passed and Watson remained in Houston.
Now, he’s using those same skills to ignore the noise surrounding team’s failed pursuit of another star quarterback.
“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.”
If anyone is good at keeping his focus on internal matters, it’s Tagovailoa. Miami has equipped him with upgraded tools for success in 2022, and he sparked some positive buzz over the weekend with a highlight-reel touchdown pass to one of those new arrivals: receiver Tyreek Hill.
Tagovailoa will again need his earmuffs, at least for the next few weeks. Once the season arrives, he’ll be able to speak with what matters most: his on-field performance.
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