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Tua Tagovailoa unaffected by Dolphins' interest in Tom Brady, coach says

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Tua Tagovailoa unaffected by Dolphins' interest in Tom Brady, coach says
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is entering the third year of his four-year rookie contract. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Tua Tagovailoa was unaffected mentally when the NFL confirmed this week that the Miami Dolphins were interested in acquiring fellow quarterback Tom Brady, coach Mike McDaniel said Friday.

The NFL announced Tuesday that it stripped the Dolphins of two draft picks and fined and suspended team owner Stephen Ross for violations of its integrity of the game policy.

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Some of those penalties were linked to impermissible contact with Brady while he was a member of the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tagovailoa was on the Dolphins' roster.

"I haven't seen anything from from Tua that would lend me to believe he's affected in the slightest about the things that he can't control," McDaniel said at a news conference at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Fla.

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Tagovailoa, who last spoke to reporters Wednesday, said he learned about the Dolphins' interest in Brady when news broke on TV about the NFL's punishments for the franchise.

The NFL said the Dolphins talked to Brady during the 2019 season and postseason, just months before they drafted Tagovailoa. Additional communication with Brady occurred in 2021, during Tagovailoa's second season with the team.

"I remember I came in 2020, so whatever happened in 2019, I can't even speak on that," Tagovailoa said. "I was here in 2020 and I'm still here and I'm blessed to be here.

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"If it has to do with support from the team, I think the team is all in with me and all of the guys that we have now."

The Dolphins started veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick over Tagovailoa at the beginning of the 2020 season. Tagovailoa went on to battle injuries and more competition in 2021, limiting his snaps and production.

Along the way, the Dolphins were linked to several quarterbacks, including Brady and Deshaun Watson.

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"If you if you're starting quarterback in the NFL, and you don't think that there's competition always ... that's [just] not the way to look at it," McDaniel said of Tagovailoa.

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"You look at it like gonna go attack this job. It's your job to show everyone exactly who is the best person for it."

McDaniel, who was hired in February, also was asked about the Dolphins' interest in former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. The NFL said Tuesday that the Dolphins had "impermissible communications" with Payton's agent about hiring him as their head coach just a month before McDaniel got the job.

"I think there's power in not giving legs to something that doesn't really affect the 2022 players that really deserve full and undivided attention," McDaniel said.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, asked earlier this week about the Dolphins' attempts to acquire, said the situation is "all in the past" and that he is focused on training camp with his current roster.

Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles told reporters Wednesday that it didn't matter to him that the Dolphins were talking to Brady in December.

"It doesn't bother me," Bowles said. "There's just not a lot going on in sports right now. We're not making it any bigger than it is."

Bowles also said "the league took care of it," when asked about the Dolphins' punishments, which included $2 million in fines, a loss of two draft picks and suspensions for Ross and team vice chairman Bruce Beal.

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Brady, who turned 45 Wednesday, has yet to publicly address the news of the NFL punishing the Dolphins for their communication with him. He addressed reports about the Dolphins' interest in him in June, but said he is committed to the Buccaneers.

The Dolphins, who will continue their second week of training camp this weekend, will hold joint practices with the Buccaneers next week in Tampa, Fla. They will face the Buccaneers in their first preseason game Aug. 13 in Tampa.

Bowles said Brady will not play in that game.

The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions

Coach Dick Vermeil (L-R) reacts to his bust with John Shirah and Carl Peterson during his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on August 6, 2022. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

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