‘I’m still here … that’s all noise’

TAMPA, Fla. — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa told reporters last week that he believes the team is “all in” on him despite his past interest in Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

His response was even more succinct on Wednesday when asked again about his reaction to that interest.

“Yeah, I mean I’m still here,” he said. “To me, that’s all noise at this point.”

Tagovailoa and the Dolphins trained with the Brady’s Buccaneers on Wednesday, the first of two joint practice sessions ahead of the teams’ season opener at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. The timing of their practice together happens to come a week after the NFL disciplined Miami for improper contact with Brady in 2019 and 2021 — failed efforts to persuade him to join the Dolphins as a limited partner, football manager and possibly a player.

The league fined Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and limited partner and vice chairman Bruce Beal a combined $2 million and stripped the Dolphins of their 2023 first round and 2024 third round picks in response to their contact with Brady and improper contact with then-New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton before his retirement in January.

Tagovailoa had a lengthy exchange with the reporter, who asked him about his reaction to the league’s investigation, during which he insisted Miami’s interest in Brady was of the past.

Speaking to local media last week, Tagovailoa said he generally keeps a tight circle around himself and doesn’t bestow narratives around him until asked.

“I would say the only thing that gets frustrating is when you hear it or see it every day,” he said. “For me I eliminate all that. Don’t hear it. Don’t see it. I go home, go to my family, study, wake up the next day, come back and enjoy football. I obviously hear everything from the media and then when [the communications staff] prepare me for whatever you’re going to say, and then I’m like, ‘Ah, I have to answer that. All right, let me figure out something politically correct.'”

Brady was not made available to the media on Wednesday and has not commented publicly on the tampering incidents. Tagovailoa said he spoke with Brady at the Bucs’ facility on Wednesday — mostly about the offseason and golf, though Tagovailoa said he asked the seven-time Super Bowl champion for some football insight but gave no further details.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has downplayed the impact of training with Brady and the impact of last week’s news on his team.

“Nothing happened to me. Everyone else makes it uncomfortable,” McDaniel said. “It takes up an iota of nobody’s place. It’s hard enough to be good in this league. As the Miami Dolphins, all of our energy is very coordinated and has to do with getting better and anything else would be an opportunity cost that we’re not willing to spend.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34381008/tua-tagovailoa-reaction-miami-dolphins-tom-brady-interest-here-all-noise-point ‘I’m still here … that’s all noise’

Emma Bowman

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