TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa would rather chat with Tom Brady than answer questions about taking the job.
Tagovailoa spent time talking with Brady while the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a joint practice on Wednesday. He had a simple answer when asked if Miami was penalized for tampering with Brady.
“I’m still here. For me, it’s just noise at this point,” Tagovailoa said.
Last week, the NFL suspended Dolphins owner Stephen Ross until Oct. 17, fined him $1.5 million and docked the team with a first-round pick in the 2023 draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 draft for talking to Brady while he was under contract with the Patriots in 2019 and the Buccaneers in 2021.
The league survey determined that the Dolphins had inadmissible communications with Brady and his agent, Don Yee, no later than early December 2021 and after the season, while he was under contract with the Buccaneers.
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These talks have focused on Brady becoming a limited partner of the Dolphins and possibly as Director of Football, though they have also occasionally included the possibility of him playing for the Dolphins. The league said Ross and Dolphins vice-president/limiting partner Bruce Beal participated in the discussions.
Brady, who turned 45 last week, briefly retired after last season. He hasn’t spoken to reporters since the league punished the Dolphins, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion spoke with Tagovailoa on the court.
“We talked for quite a while,” Tagovailoa said. “He was just asking how the offseason was. We were talking a little golf at the same time. But for most, 23 years of play is a long time. That’s a lot of knowledge, so I asked him some things and he gave me some good insight. I’ll keep that between me and Tom. Then if you want to ask Tom, you can go ask him.
Tagovailoa said Brady’s “calm in the pocket” impressed him the most.
“Nothing really bothers him. When you have a guy in your face, he just makes subtle moves and throws the ball,” Tagovailoa said. “I would say those are the main qualities of a really good quarterback with him, Russ (Russell Wilson), Aaron Rodgers, all these great guys.”
The Dolphins and Buccaneers will practice again Thursday ahead of their preseason opener on Saturday night.
Dolphins first-year coach Mike McDaniel played down Brady’s story.
“For me, nothing happened,” he said. “Everyone is the one making it awkward. It doesn’t take up one iota of space with anyone. It’s hard enough to be good in this league. As the Miami Dolphins, all of our energy is very coordinated and only has to do with improving ourselves and anything else would be an opportunity cost that we are not willing to spend.
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