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A tampering timeline: Tracing the Dolphins’ courtship of Tom Brady

An NFL probe reveals Miami executives reached out the Bucs and former Patriots quarterback as early as 2019.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) organizes a play during his team's 45-17 rout of the Dolphins on Oct. 10, 2021. A six-month NFL investigation has revealed the Dolphins violated the league's anti-tampering policies by having conversations with Brady as far back as 2019.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) organizes a play during his team's 45-17 rout of the Dolphins on Oct. 10, 2021. A six-month NFL investigation has revealed the Dolphins violated the league's anti-tampering policies by having conversations with Brady as far back as 2019. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Aug. 2|Updated Aug. 3

The Dolphins spent nearly 2-1/2 years trying to lure Tom Brady to Miami, according to a lengthy NFL investigation that has ended with severe sanctions against the team and two of its executives.

The following timeline charts those efforts, which commenced even before Brady’s final season in New England.

August 2019

Dolphins vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal first reaches out to Brady, then embarking on his 20th season as Patriots quarterback, according to the NFL investigation. “Those communications began as early as August 2019 and continued throughout the 2019 season and postseason,” the league says in its findings. Beal serves on the board of TB12, Brady’s health and fitness company.

Jan. 4, 2020

In his final contest for New England, Brady and the Patriots lose to the Titans, 20-13, in an AFC wild-card game. Current Bucs safety Logan Ryan caps things when he intercepts a Brady pass and returns it for a 9-yard touchdown with nine seconds remaining.

March 20, 2020

Brady signs a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs.

Feb. 7, 2021

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his family after his team's 31-9 rout of the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7, 2021.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his family after his team's 31-9 rout of the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7, 2021. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Brady helps lead the Bucs to a 31-9 rout of the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium.

March 12, 2021

Bucs add a year to Brady’s deal, keeping him under contract in Tampa Bay through the 2022 season.

December 2021

The NFL probe reveals the Dolphins had “impermissible contact” with Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season, with the discussions beginning “no later than early December 2021, and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins.”

Jan. 23, 2022

Despite a valiant second-half rally, Brady and the Bucs lose to the Rams, 30-27, in an NFC division-round game.

Jan. 25, 2022

Saints coach Sean Payton, left, and Bucs coach Bruce Arians chat at the conclusion of New Orleans' 34-17 victory at Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 17, 2019.
Saints coach Sean Payton, left, and Bucs coach Bruce Arians chat at the conclusion of New Orleans' 34-17 victory at Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 17, 2019. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Saints coach Sean Payton, represented by the same agent as Brady (Don Yee), confirms his retirement after 15 seasons.

Feb. 1, 2022

Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and three teams (including Miami) in February over alleged racist hiring practices following his dismissal by the Dolphins in January.
Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and three teams (including Miami) in February over alleged racist hiring practices following his dismissal by the Dolphins in January. [ ADAM HUNGER | Associated Press ]
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Three weeks after his firing as Dolphins coach, Brian Flores files a 58-page federal lawsuit alleging discrimination against three NFL teams, including Miami. In the lawsuit, Flores alleges Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to incentivize him to purposely lose games to improve the team’s draft position. He also accused Ross of pressuring him to recruit a “prominent quarterback” at the end of the 2019 season (Flores refused).

Feb. 1, 2022

Brady announces his NFL retirement in a lengthy Instagram post.

March 13, 2022

Only 40 days after his retirement, Brady announces he’ll return to the Buccaneers in 2022, his 23rd NFL season.

March 30, 2022

Bucs coach Bruce Arians announces he will retire and accept a new role as a consultant to general manager Jason Licht. In ensuing months, both Brady and Arians will deny any strain or rift existed in their relationship.

June 9, 2022

In his first appearance with local reporters since his un-retirement, Brady is asked if there was any truth to reports that he was interested in joining the Dolphins in any capacity: “Again, I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people as I’ve had for the last three or four years in my career about different opportunities when I am done playing football. I kind of made a decision of what I’d like to do. I’ll get to be in the game of football. I think the most important thing is where I’m at now and what I hope to do for this team. That has been my commitment to this team and organization.”

Aug. 2, 2022

The NFL reveals its six-month investigation found the Dolphins — namely Ross and Beal — violated the league’s anti-tampering policy on three occasions from 2019-2022 for conversations with Brady and Payton. The Dolphins’ penalties include the loss of their 2023 first-round draft pick and a third rounder in 2024, a $1.5 million fine for Ross and a $500,000 fine for Beal. Brady will face no penalty, the league says.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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