Tom Brady. Tom fricking Brady. If there's one overarching theme to the man, it's that nothing about him is ever simple. His career. His personal life. His weirdo fitness regimen. The recipes in his book. It's a good thing he doesn't drink coffee, because anyone stuck behind him at the counter would probably hear an order that sounds like a lecture on String Theory. Even the way he retired, was retired, and then unretired, has been a complex web of intrigue like something out of a John le Carre' spy thriller.
Take, for instance, the story out of Pro Football Talk at the end of last month that claimed Brian Flores' discrimination lawsuit against the NFL in general and the Dolphins in particular screwed over Brady's masterplan to control a piece of the franchise:
It's a story that got independent confirmation - and a lot more detail - from Do Your Pod guest and Patriots troller emeritus Ben Volin on WEEI earlier. Discussing the PFT report about the Dolphins trying to land Brady and Sean Payton:
"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. …
“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.’”
Also like a le Carre' novel, this story involves international settings:
“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? … 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.’ …
"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.”
I'll be the first to concede there's some speculation on Volin's part here. But speculation firmly grounded in the rumors going around the league, the timing of everything, and - to me at least - common sense.
Brady announced his retirement the day after Flores announced he was offered money by Stephen Ross of the Dolphins to tank games. He announced his unretirement the day after hanging with the Glazers at the soccer game. In between, we've had multiple reports that his beef with playing for the Bucs was dealing with Bruce Arians:
I mean, what else could it have been? The talent around him? The Bucs defense? The weather in Tampa? Of course it was the coach. So while he was waffling about what his next move should be and Arians cockblocked any idea of a trade, he opted to go over everyone's head, take his case about the head coach directly to Bucs ownership, and used the soccer game as his cover.
You can connect those dots anyway you like. But to me, however you draw the lines, they'll make a picture of a guy who saw his best laid plans (running the Dolphins) blown up (Flores' lawsuit), and the only choice available to him was to solve the problem with his coach or, God forbid, actually be home all day, every day.
It's not simple, but it's about as simple as anything ever is with this guy. And if I was Bruce Arians, I'd look into renting property in Tampa, as opposed to buying.