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Bruce Arians keeps claiming that all was well between him and Tom Brady

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons talk about the significance of Tom Brady restructuring his contract and what awaits a 45-year-old NFL free agent in 2023.

Bruce Arians continues to protest too much.

Clearly stung by the ongoing perception that Tom Brady’s return after a 40-day retirement was conditioned on Arians being nudged to the curb 17 days later, Arians huffed and puffed some more on Sunday night regarding his good friend Tommy.

Speaking at the Arians Family Foundation gala (my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail), Arians addressed his relationship with Brady by pointing out that Brady will be giving Arians an expensive piece of jewelry.

It’s a $50,000 watch,” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He says he’s bringing it to me. Who does that if we hate each other? As soon as he’s back in town, we’ll play golf.”

No one ever said they hate each other. The question is whether Brady could continue to work with Arians. As we’ve said time and again, it’s possible for people to have a good personal relationship while also being unable to coexist professionally.

“It’s never going to go away, no matter what anyone says,” Arians said. “It’s a national narrative that they think they know, but they don’t.”

If it’s never going to go away, why does he keep trying to persuade people who will never be convinced that there wasn’t a Code Red of some sort ordered or subtly requested by Brady? Common sense continues to point to the reality that Brady, if ever pressed sufficiently by Tom Cruise, would eventually shout, “You’re goddam right I did!

Arians’ latest attempt to shout down the doubters comes in the aftermath of a recent failure by now-former Buccaneers assistant coach A.Q. Shipley to deny that he was one of the sources for his good friend Rich Ohrnberger’s claim that Brady and Arians were no longer seeing eye to eye, due to the fact that the semi-retired Arians was tinkering excessively with the work done by Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Via, Shipley was asked jokingly by Pat McAfee whether he was one of his close friend Ohrnberger’s sources, and Shipley deftly avoided answering the question.

As notes, and as I didn’t previously realize, Shipley decided after one year of working as an assistant coach with the Buccaneers to step aside. That makes it even more likely that he told Orhnberger about the friction between Brady and Arians. There’s no consequence of any kind to Shipley if Arians thinks Shipley said something he shouldn’t have said to Ohrnberger.

At a bare minimum, it would have been beyond irresponsible for Ohrnberger to not at least run the reporting past his good friend Shipley before going public with it. The exchange could have been as simple as this: “Here’s what I’m going to say. Tell me if I’m wrong.”

Or, quite possibly, Ohrnberger got all of it from Shipley. Again, the fact that Shipley no longer works there makes it far more likely that he’d come clean.

And please spare us the notion that it’s taboo to guess sources. We just want to know whether the information is correct. In this case, the Ohrnberger-Shipley connection makes it far more likely that the information is accurate. Throw in Shipley’s decision to pass on a golden opportunity to shout “fake news,” and the fair conclusion continue to be that, $50,000 gold watch or not, there’s something to the notion that the time had come for Arians and Brady to end their business relationship -- regardless of how they personally feel about each other.