McDaniel: Dolphins-Bucs practice not awkward after Brady tampering probe
Many around the NFL thought the joint practice between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday would be awkward after the Dolphins were penalized last week for tampering with quarterback Tom Brady.
But Miami head coach Mike McDaniel didn't see any issues with that.
"For me, nothing happened," McDaniel said before Wednesday's practice, according to Adam H. Beasley of Pro Football Network. "Everyone else is making it awkward. It doesn't occupy a single iota of space with anybody. It's hard enough to be good in this league. We're, as the Miami Dolphins, all of our energy is very coordinated and only has to do with us getting better. Everything else would be an opportunity cost that we're not willing to expend."
The NFL stripped the Dolphins of their 2023 first-round pick and their 2024 third-rounder for violating the league's integrity of the game policy. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also suspended through Oct. 17 and fined $1.5 million as a result of the investigation.
The NFL concluded that Miami tampered with Brady while he was under contract with the New England Patriots in 2019-20 and after his first season with Tampa Bay in 2021. The Dolphins also violated league rules by communicating with former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in January 2022.
Brady reportedly had plans to become a minority owner of the Dolphins after briefly retiring this offseason. Miami apparently also wanted to add the seven-time Super Bowl champion as the starting quarterback with Payton on the sideline, but those plans fell through after Brian Flores filed a civil lawsuit against the team.
Tua Tagovailoa, who's entering his third season with Miami, said he had a great conversation with Brady during their joint practice.
"I was able to talk to Tom," Tagovailoa said. "We were talking on the side for a good bit. He was asking how the offseason was. We were talking a little about golf at the same time. For the most part, 23 years playing, that's a long time. That's a lot of knowledge. I was asking him some things. He gave me some good insight. I'm going to keep that between me and Tom."
Tagovailoa has a make-or-break campaign ahead of him in 2022 as he has yet to live up to being the fifth overall pick in 2020. The 24-year-old completed 67.8% of his passes for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions across 13 appearances last season.