What exactly happened in the 40 days between Tom Brady retiring on Feb. 1 and Brady returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday?
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe shared an interesting theory that makes a lot of sense on Merloni & Fauria Monday, and it involves Brian Flores' lawsuit against the Dolphins and other NFL teams.
“There was the Mike Florio report that Brady and [former New Orleans Saints coach] Sean Payton were planning to team up in Miami. I know that’s true because I heard it independently, and I know I heard it from a different source than Mike Florio heard it,” Volin said. “So that to me is the key. So Brady announces his retirement on the morning of February 1, a Tuesday. What happens that same day? Brian Flores files his lawsuit against the Miami Dolphins. Throws a wrench in the entire plan.
“Brady was not gonna go to Miami necessarily to be the quarterback. He was gonna be Derek Jeter. He was gonna team up with Payton and run the Dolphins. He was gonna run the front office. It was gonna be [Dolphins owner] Stephen Ross’ big heist. You don’t need permission from the Bucs to get Brady to run your front office. And Sean Payton was gonna be his coach. Sean Payton and Brady are both represented by Don Yee, so there’s a whole connection there.
“Brady was gonna go run the Dolphins, and then Brian Flores files his lawsuit and throws a wrench in the entire thing. Now all of a sudden you’re worried about cell phones and discovery and all this stuff, so Brady, they scrap those plans. So now Brady’s looking at it, ‘Well, what am I gonna do? Sit around on my couch for a year? No, I might as well go play football.’”
Brady’s announcement that he was returning to the Bucs came on the heels of him joining the Glazer family in their private box at a Manchester United game on Saturday. The Glazers own both Manchester United and the Bucs, and Volin speculated that Brady used the trip to address any lingering issues -- particularly with Tampa coach Bruce Arians -- and finalize his return plan.
“He goes over across the pond over the weekend, to the Man United game, sits in the box with the Glazer family, who owns both those teams,” Volin said. “What I don’t know is, did Brady try to do a power play and the Glazers said no? Here’s what I think happened: the Glazers are very much indebted to Brady. I think Brady went to the Glazers and said, ‘Look, I’ll come back, but we have to fix something with Bruce Arians. You have to talk to the coach.’
“So I think he went directly to the owner, told him what his issues are, and the owner said, ‘You know what, we’ll figure it out.’ And then the next day, after going to that Man U game, Brady announces he’s coming back. So this was all about him going to the Dolphins, it got scrapped because of the Brian Flores lawsuit, he had nothing else to do except play football, and he goes to the Bucs owner across the pond.”
Listen to the full segment with Volin, including Christian Fauria and Mike Mutnansky’s reactions to his theory, below. Volin shares his idea beginning at the 5:50 mark.