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Sean Payton admits that “intermediaries talked” about the possibility of him coaching in Miami

After Tom Brady’s recent comments to ESPN, Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect the root of why the QB steered clear of anything regarded retiring, unretiring and why Bruce Arians is gone.

Former Saints coach Sean Payton spoke to reporters on Tuesday at the Zurich Classic celebrity shootout. As he did, a few interesting things shot out of his mouth regarding the persistent rumors and reports linking him and Tom Brady to the Dolphins, a Miami plan that (as PFT reported on February 28) was scrapped when former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a landmark lawsuit on February 1 -- the same day Brady announced his retirement.

Pay careful attention to what Payton said, and to what he didn’t say.

“I have no clue about the Tampa Bay, Miami Dolphin, Tom Brady rumor,” Payton said. “My understanding is that there a request was put in or that intermediaries talked. I’m like the rest of you. I heard that story.”

In late January, Payton told Dan Patrick that two teams had reached out to Payton through back channels.

That’s how plans like these initially unfold. Through back channels, through intermediaries. In this case, the conversation culminated in the Dolphins calling the Saints; Dolphins G.M. Chris Grier has admitted it. Likewise, the Dolphins privately acknowledge that they considered making Tom Brady a minority owner. As PFT has reported, that was one of the steps toward Brady becoming not just an owner but a player.

With the Brady-Payton plan scrapped by the Flores lawsuit, what’s Payton going to do now, publicly admit it? Hell no. He’s officially saying what he has to say, but he’s dropping enough bread crumbs to confirm the beliefs of those who know better. Who know the truth. Who have heard the truth directly from the most impeccable of sources.

“If I would have been ready to coach like this year, I would have stayed in New Orleans,” Payton said. “And so it’s nice to have someone interested and, yeah, that’s about it. Look, our focus on Tom Brady has been beating him, not joining him.”

That’s what Payton has to say, because it didn’t happen. But the Dolphins definitely tried. And Payton, even if he didn’t get a phone call directly from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, definitely knew what was going on.